Virginia Tech Dendrology

hollyleaf cherry Rosaceae Prunus ilicifolia (Nutt. ex Hook. & Arn.) D. Dietr. Listen to the Latin symbol: PRIL
Leaf: Alternate, simple, evergreen, oval to nearly round, 1 to 3 inches long, thick and leathery, margin with spine-tipped hollylike teeth, shiny green above, much paler below.
Flower: Feathery, to 3 inch-long racemes of small, creamy-white, 5-petal flowers, generally held upright, appearing in the spring.
Fruit: Clustered drupes, up to 1/2 inch in diameter, red to purple when ripe in the fall, persisting into winter.
Twig: Gray to red-brown, slender, somewhat angled, pronounced bitter almond odor and taste, pre-formed catkins present in leaf nodes.
Bark: Red-brown to gray-brown, young branches with lenticels, bitter almond scent present when broken.
Form: A large, dense, multi-stem shrub or small tree to 20 feet, of equal spread.
Looks like: lemonade sumac - sugar sumac - shrub live oak
leaf twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Prunus ilicifolia is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting hollyleaf cherry.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson