This hybrid Holly comes to us after 22 years of research by Dr. Elwin Orton of Rutgers University in New Brunswich, New Jersey, and combines the best genetic traits of Ilex meserveae and I. pernyi. I. x meserveae were originally bred by Mrs. Leighton Meserve of New York by using two species, I. rugosa, a cold hardy, Japanese spreading Holly, and I. aquifolium, a European tree holly that produces an abundance of berries. I. pernyi was introduced to the west by E.H. Wilson, a notable plant collector from England. He discovered the Holly in western China along the Min River.
Holly berries are an extremely valuable food source to birds and other animals. Holly berries are mildly toxic if eaten by humans. Red Beauty requires a male plant nearby in order to set berries. Most male varieties of Ilex meserveae can serve this purpose.