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Winterberry Holly, Black Alder 'Earlibright'

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: Earlibright
Hybridized by Polly Hill
Registered or introduced: 1975




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 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


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

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:

Vincennes, Indiana

Clermont, Kentucky

Crestwood, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 25, 2010, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

'Earlibright' winterberry (also sometimes listed as 'Earlybright') is one of many excellent plants evaluated and selected by the late Polly Hill of Martha's Vineyard.

'Earlibright' has large reddish orange fruit that indeed color up quite early compared to the legions of additional winterberry selections. This stands out in early fall, even before total leaf drop, and is a harbinger of the bounty of fruit to come as the rest of the varieties begin to color and reveal their treasures.

This is another selection that is somewhat taller than wide, but 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 condit... read more