American holly Aquifoliaceae Ilex opaca Aiton Listen to the Latin symbol: ILOP Other Fact Sheets
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 - dahoon
leaf flower fruit twig bark form map
Additional Range Information:
Ilex opaca is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting American holly.
External Links:
USDAFS Silvics of North America
USDAFS Additional Silvics
USDA Plants Database
Horticulture
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Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson
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