|Common Name(s)||American Holly|
|Scientific Name||Ilex opaca|
|Location/Vegetative Zone||Maritime forest|
|Identifying Characteristics||15-30 feet tall, green pointy leaves with red berries|
- Can grow up to 100 feet tall, but will never grow larger than shrub height in coastal areas.
- Smooth bark of grayish color
- 2 to 4 inch long toothed leaves, alternately arranged with leathery texture.
- Greenish-white flowers bloom from April to June
- Newly established plants will not flower for 4 to 7 years
- Bright red berries mature on the plant from September to October and determine the gender of the plant
- Grows from Massachusetts to Florida, and west to Texas and Missouri
- Grows best on sandy soils
- Berries were chewed on by Native Americans to treat indigestion and act as a laxative, diuretic, and emetic
- Used to make Christmas decor
- Very popular in landscaping
- Sandy Hook is home to the largest maritime holly forest on the east coast, 64 acres in size
- Foliage provides cover for songbirds
- White-tail deer and various species of birds feed on the berries
Moerman, Daniel M. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland: Timber Press Inc., 1998. Print.
“American Holly”. UF School of Forest Resources & Conservation. University of Florida. 2015. Web.
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