Virtues: Mountain holly (Ilex mucronata) tolerates sun, shade and wet soil. Its preferences and appearance make it a great choice for a rain garden or a naturalistic planting scheme in a wet or low-lying area. Its flowers attract butterflies and its foliage makes it the larval host for the Columbia silkmoth.
Common name: Mountain holly, catberry, swamp holly
Botanical name:Ilex mucronata
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Season: Year-round for structure, fall for fruit
Flowers/fruit: Inconspicuous, tiny spring flowers give way to round berries that ripen bright red in fall.
Foliage: Narrow green leaves appear in spring and turn yellow in fall.
Habit: Woody, deciduous shrub growing between 6 and 10 feet tall and wide.
Origins:Ilex mucronata is native to the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest of the United States, as well as eastern Canada. It grows in moist woodlands, swamps, marshes and bogs.
How to grow mountain holly: Site in full sun to part shade, in acidic soil that remains moist or even wet. USDA Zones 4–6.