Winterberry holly, Black Alder 'Quitsa'

Ilex verticillata

Family: Aquifoliaceae (a-kwee-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)
Species: verticillata (ver-ti-si-LAH-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Quitsa
Hybridized by Polly Hill
Registered or introduced: 1984



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer




Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Poplar Grove, Illinois

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts

West Tisbury, Massachusetts

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 25, 2012, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

'Quitsa' Winterberry Holly is another one of many excellent plants evaluated and selected by the late Polly Hill of Martha's Vineyard.

'Quitsa' has handsome reddish fruit that color up well and are reasonably persistent. The fruit density is good, and makes nice indoor winter decorations as cut branches. It has been quite hardy and drought resistant here at the Valley.

This selection needs no additional assistance other than reasonable moisture during the driest times in the growing season. Like all winterberries, it prefers wetness and acid soils on the sandy side. I have none of these conditions here in central KY, yet I am rewarded amply and annually by the reliable performance of these plants.

Polly Hill left quite a legacy of horticultu... read more