221 N. Mendenhall Rd.

American Holly (Ilex opaca)

Ilex opaca, the American holly, is a species of holly, native to the eastern and south-central United States, from coastal Massachusetts south to central Florida, and west to southeastern Missouri and eastern Texas. It is a medium-sized broadleaved evergreen tree growing on average to 33-66 feet tall, and up to 98 feet tall. Typically, its trunk diamter reaches 20 inches, sometimes up to 47 inches. The American holly features leathery leaves that are 2-4 inches long, maintain their green color year-round, and are sharply tipped on the edges. It yields red, berry-like fruit that is popular with a variety of birds, but somewhat toxic for humans. The holly also produces inconspicuous greenish or cream flowers with a notably pleasant aroma. It grows in a pyramidal shape, and can be pruned as an attractive hedge. 

The American holly tree has been popular since the beginning of American history, having served the Native Americans with wood for many different applications and berries that were used for buttons and barter. It was said to be a favorite of George Washington, and more than a dozen hollies he planted are still evident today. It is also widely known as the basic raw material for Christmas wreaths.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *