Scientific Name:  Ilex glabra

Light: Sun to shade

Zone:  4 to 9

Height:  6 to 10 feet

Width:  5 to 8 feet

Flowers: May to June, greenish-white, insignificant

Fruit/Seed: September to March, black berry

Fall Color:  Evergreen


Birds:   The fruit is eaten by at least 15 species of birds, including bobwhite quail and wild turkey. Inkberry also provides cover for several species of birds.


Deer Resistant:  Seldom severely damaged but inkberry leaves are browsed white tailed-deer when other sources are scarce and  inkberry also provides cover for white-tailed deer.

Insects/Pollinators:   Nectar of the flowers is an important source for honey production.

Native: Native in coastal areas of mid-Atlantic but not Maryland.  40 records in Maryland biodiversity project but none in Carroll.

Idea Garden:

Categories: ,


  • Inkberries need separate male and female plants to produce fruit.
  • If necessary, prune to shape in early spring just before new growth begins.
  • Remove root suckers regularly if colonial spread is not desired.
  • No serious insect or disease problems.
  • Best massed or grouped. Excellent for shrub borders, foundation plantings or as a low hedge. Also effective naturalized in moist woodland gardens or in moist locations near streams, ponds or rain garden,
  • The fruits are important food for raccoon, coyote, and opossum when other sources are scarce.


‘Compacta’ –  denser branching and foliage, female form with black fruit, 6′ tall and wide.

‘Ivory Queen’, ‘Leucocarpa’ and ‘Alba’ – forms  of the naturally-occuring white-fruited f. leucocarpa,  8′ tall.

‘Shamrock’ -dwarf, slow-growing , 3′-5′ tall.


Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Inkberry – Missouri Botanical Garden

Inkberry – USDA Plant Guide

Inkberry – University of Connecticut Plant Database

Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance – Rutgers

Recommended for Wildlife by

Winter Interest in the Garden for You and the Local Wildlife by Jane Slade

Gardening for the Birds by George Adams

The Audubon Backyard Bird Watcher by Burton & Kress

HG120 Native Plants of Maryland

Songbirds – FS613

Landscaping to Attract Birds – Baltimore Bird Club

Bringing Nature Home by Tallamy



Additional information


Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8


Part Sun, Shade, Sun


Clay, Dry, Loam, Moist

Flower Color


Flower Season

Spring, Summer

Fruit Season

Fall, Winter



Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Deer Resistant, Food for Birds, Nectar, Nest Sites, Summer Cover, Winter Cover

Notable Features

Erosion Control, Evergreen, Hedge, Rabbit Resistant, Rain Garden, Winter Interest

Local Availability

Widely Available


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Inkberry”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *