Holly on the High Line

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Author: 
Auzelle Epeneter
hollyWinter Red winterberry holly with grey birch in the Gansevoort Woodland.
Photo by Patrick Cullina.
 

Here's another sight-seeing item to add to your holiday list – the Winter Red winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red') that's brightening the Gansevoort Woodland with clusters of lively red fruits.

The variety of holly that's typically associated with the holiday season is English Holly (Ilex aquifolium).  The variety on the High Line–Winterberry holly–is a deciduous species that can be found growing in many parts of the Northeast.  It tends to be found in moist areas like the edges of bogs, though is quite adaptable to other landscape conditions.

The fruit, which is found only on female plants, emerges green, then brightens to red in autumn as it ripens.  The plant's leaves typically turn gold towards the end of October, then fall to reveal the striking red fruit that's visible right now on the High Line.  In order to produce the fruit, though, a male plant is necessary for pollination (for 'Winter Red,' we suggest a variety called 'Southern Gentleman').

Later in the season, birds will begin to pick the softening fruit from the branches, which should make for some great wildlife watching.

Patrick Cullina, High Line Vice President of Horticulture & Park Operations, tells me, "We have just a few plants in the southern end of the Line, but it's an under-appreciated species that we like, so you'll see more of them next year."

Section 2 will have another winterberry variety called 'Red Sprite' that bears more compact fruit that the current species.