Is holly pollination species-specific?

canishel(z7 TN)August 2, 2009

I'm serious. My yard is surrounded by woods. To the best of my knowledge, no one in the neighborhood has Ilex verticillata except me.

The plants I have are loaded with berries while the two males had very few flowers. Even in the years prior to the males flowering, the winterberries had lots of berries. In fact, the females were planted for several years and had berries before I planted males. But there are also Foster hollies in the yard, and Ilex glabra (compacta and Shamrock). (The glabras so far have not had many berries).

Thanks for any help.

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The answer to your question is yes and no - some do, some don't :-) The attached link explains it nicely and offers suggested pollinators for specific species. Dirr's Manual of Woody Plants also provides a listing of suitable pollinators by species.

I also found another source which, contrary to most other sources, states boldy that "any holly species can pollinate any other holly species" as long the bloom periods coincide, but since it also contained several glaring errors with regards to hollies, I discounted its veracity.

Here is a link that might be useful: holly pollination

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 6:10PM
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canishel(z7 TN)

Thanks for the quick reply.
I guess the next question concerns those hollies that whose pollination is not species-specific. Are the resulting berries sterile? Or do the seeds germinate true to either the mother or sire plant (I don't see how they could). I'm now concerned with the possibilty of generating some highly invasive shrubs.
The worry never ends...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 7:14PM
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If pollinated by two different species, they would be hybrids. There are naturally occurring native hybrids (crosses of Ilex opaca and Ilex cassine, for example).

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 7:26PM
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