Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Ilex vomitoria Ait.
- Family: Holly (Aquifoliaceae)
- Flowering: March-May
- Field Marks: This species is distinguished from other evergreen hollies by its leaves that are
finely toothed throughout their entire length and which are not spine-tipped.
- Habitat: Swamps, low woods, steep ravines, scrub oak woodlands, hammocks, bluffs, coastal
dunes, fencerows, flatwoods, along streams, floodplains.
- Habit: Shrub, sprouting vigorously from the roots.
- Stems: Woody, up to 24 feet tall; twigs with short hairs.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, evergreen, oblong to elliptic, rounded at the tip, rounded at the base,
finely round-toothed along the edges, smooth, shiny, up to 1 1/2 inches long, up to 3/4 inch
wide; leaf stalks hairy, up to 1/8 inch long.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne on the same plant; male flowers 2-3 clustered in the
axils of the leaves; female flowers 1-3 in the axils of the leaves.
- Sepals: 4, green, free from each other, rounded at the tip.
- Petals: 4, white, free from each other.
- Stamens: 4.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Drupes red, spherical, shiny, up to 1/4 inch in diameter, containing 4 nutlets.
- Notes: This species often forms dense thickets.
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