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Possum Haw Holly, Possumhaw, Deciduous Holly 'Warren's Red'

Ilex decidua

Family: Aquifoliaceae (a-kwee-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)
Species: decidua (dee-SID-yoo-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Warren's Red
Hybridized by Otis Warren
Registered or introduced: 1950a
Synonym:Ilex curtissii
Synonym:Ilex decidua var. curtissii



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


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)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer


Grown for foliage


Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

4.5 or below (very acidic)

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


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

Calera, Alabama

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Shawnee, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Devon, Pennsylvania

Frisco, Texas

Gatesville, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 27, 2016, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

Possumhaw Holly is often a large, tree-like shrub that is usually about 12 to 20 feet high and the spread is usually about 2/3 of the height. It usually grows in strongly acid (to pH 4.0) to slightly acid soils, draining wet to dry, but can tolerate alkaline soil up to pH 8.5. It is native from southern Missouri & Illinois through eastern Texas over to central Florida, up into Virginia. It grows around a foot/year. It transplants well to balled & burlapped with its fibrous, shallow, lateral root system. The red fruit lasts from October through March, unless totally eaten by birds. 'Warren's Red' is a cultivar that bears fruit heavier than the mother species.


On Feb 8, 2010, Gardennovice1a from London,
United Kingdom wrote:

Hi there, do you have experience of cutting a Possumhaw right back, so that only 10inch branch stumps remain? Would a Possumhaw eventually sprout from these branch stumps, and would this happen in the first Spring after pruning?


On Jan 28, 2007, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

'Warren's Red' possumhaw was selected and named by the late Otis Warren of Warren and Son Nursery, Oklahoma City, OK. The late Bob Simpson (extraordinary nurseryman from Vincennes IN) had this fine plant registered in the 1980s.

Around since the 1950s, 'Warren's Red' set the standard for performance among deciduous hollies for copious persistent fruit.

This is an easy holly to propagate. If one wanted to search for a drawback, it holds its leaves longer than other possumhaws. It makes up for it by holding its fruit till new lustrous dark green leaves emerge in spring.

Give this one a go. Provide a male pollinator and regular soils (though possumhaws do well in wet sites too) and stand back for the winter fruit display.