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Plant Details

Ilex opaca

American Holly, Christmas Holly

Scientific Name:

Ilex opaca

Common Name:

American Holly, Christmas Holly

Plant Family

Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family)

Native/Alien:

Native

Type:

Evergreen Tree

Bloom Color(s):

white

Size in Feet:

70

Light:

Part-sun, Shade

Soil Moisture:

Hygric, Mesic, Xeric(*)

Bloom Time:

April - May - June

Bloom Area:

Statewide (Mountains, Piedmont, Coast)

Habitat Description:

In a wide variety of forests, ranging from xeric to wetland, per Weakley.

Male plant in bloom

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Jack Spruill, 4/28/09, Hampstead

From Jack Spruill - As with all the Ilex that I know, the male plants have many more flowers than do the females.

Female plant

Females must be near a male plant to set fruit. This one was 25' from the preceding male tree so it has a heavy berry set.

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Jack Spruill, 4/28/09, Hampstead

Fruits

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David Paynter, Wilmington, 2/1/2011

Bark of a mature tree.

The bark is normally gray and smooth. This one is unusually beautiful.

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Jack Spruill, 12/21/06, Hampstead

Bark on a very old tree.

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Jack Spruill, 6/29/09, Albemarle Sound

From Jack: Here is a very old Ilex opaca on my farm on the Albemarle Sound. This tree is very tall. I do not know if it is a male or female. Often I can tell the sex of the American Holly by examining its leaves. The leaves of a male tend to be smaller than the leaves of the female.

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record


Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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