Possomhaw Holly is a deciduous shrub or small, understory tree, averaging fifteen to thirty feet tall (shorter when grown in full sun), with gray, twiggy, horizontal branches. In nature, it occurs in dry woods but more often in river bottoms and wet habitats, from Maryland south to Florida and west to Texas, Oklahoma and even Kansas. The mature tree has a rounded crown and marked, 90-degree branch angles. Possumhaw has attractive glossy, oval, serrated dark green leaves which persist until late autumn, when they rapidly decline and fall. Like all Ilexes, the flowers of Possumhaw are not conspicuous, but grown in adequate sun, it can be a stunning specimen in the autumn and winter when the bare branches are covered with numerous bright red, ripe berries. It is a dioecious species, so a prominent female specimen can be pollinated by a conveniently nearby male of the same species, or even by a nearby American Holly (Ilex opaca). Happily, this tree is not only beautiful, it also serves as an important nectar source for all manner of bees and other pollinators, and as winter food source for song birds. Opossums, raccoons and other mammals also greatly desire the fruit, should they be lurking in the vicinity.