Ilex opaca

American Holly
Plant Name American Holly
Scientific name Ilex opaca
Family Aquifoliaceae
Location Maritime forest
Flowering Period Mid-spring
Identifying Characteristics 15-30 feet tall, green pointy leaves with red berries

Description

• 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
• Sandy Hook is home to the largest maritime holly forest on the east coast, 64 acres in size

Uses

  • Very popular in landscaping because of the plants attractive features
  • Also popular around Christmastime as decoration
  • White-tail deer and various species of birds feed on the berries
  • Foliage provides cover for songbirds
  • Berries were chewed on by Native Americans to treat indigestion and act as a laxative, diuretic, and emetic

Misc

  • Sandy Hook is home to the largest maritime holly forest on the east coast, 64 acres in size
  • Bark is smooth and grayish in color
  • Leaves are long, toothed, and have a leathery texture
  • Leaves are alternately arranged
  • 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

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