American Holly
Ilex opaca
Family Aquifoliaceae

* Prickly evergreen leaves, 2-4".
* Fruits bright red, rarely yellow, in small clusters.
* Nutlets grooved.
* Height: 10-40'.

Natural History:
* Flowers May - June.
* Fruits August - June.
* Habitat: Native to moist woods, but planted elsewhere as an ornamental plant.
* Range: Coastal New England to Texas.
* Native.

* Holly lumber is used for piano keys, ship models, and for inlay work.

* Holly is toxic to some animals, but its fruits are eaten by various songbirds, bobwhite, and wild turkey.

* The holly is an ancient and ubiquitous symbol of Christmas. Here is the first verse of a traditional English Christmas carol, "The Holly and the Ivy":

"The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,The holly bears the crown.
O the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008