American holly Aquifoliaceae Ilex
opaca Aiton symbol: ILOP
|Leaf: Alternate, simple, evergreen, elliptical, 2 to 4 inches long, spiny toothed margin, thickened and leathery, shiny dark green above, much paler below.
Flower: Species is dioecious; dull green-white, male flowers on 3 to 7 flowered cymes, female flowers are solitary with a pleasant odor, appearing in late spring.
Fruit: Berry-like drupe, red, rarely yellow when ripe, 1/4 inch in diameter, containing ribbed nutlets; maturing in fall and persisting on tree into winter.
Twig: Slender, with rust-colored pubescence; buds small reddish brown, pointed.
Bark: Light gray and smooth regardless of size.
Form: A small tree to 40 feet, with a thick crown and pyramidal form, usually with branches to the ground.
Looks like: large gallberry
- Foster's holly
- Chinese holly
| Additional Range Information:
Ilex opaca is native to North America.
Range may be expanded by planting.
See states reporting American holly.
| External Links:
Silvics of North America
USDA Plants Database
|© Copyright 2015, Virginia Tech|
Dept. of Forest Resources
and Environmental Conservation,
all rights reserved.
Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson