image Ilex opaca matte leavesIlex opaca | American Holly

STRENGTHS
Native to MD, a woodland naturalizer. If you see a holly in the wild, it’s likely this one. Sturdy and easy, I like it much better than the standard Chinese Holly. Has a nice pendulous banches. id an I. opaca by its flat matte green leaves with 1 to 3 spikes. Adds winter interest with large red berries that ripen in fall and persist to April. Requires plenty of space. Songbirds, especially Robins are almost fanatical.

image Ilex opaca image Ilex opaca berries

CARE
Winter burn can occur. They have quite a few pests but they’re so tough there’s usually no problem.
NOTES
Dioecious – needs male nearby for females to berry. Take care when spiney leaves drop on the ground.


RELATED VARIETIES | CULTIVARS | EXTRA INFO
‘Warren’s Red’ available, heavy fruiting 15′ tall
‘Xanthocarpa’ has gorgeous yellow berries 40′ – 50′/15′ – 40′

ZONES HARDINESS | SUN OR SHADE ….. 5 – 9 | full sun to part shade
GROWTH RATE ….. medium
HEIGHT / WIDTH ….. 20′-30′/7′ to 15′
PLANT SHAPE & BRANCHING ….. Loose, rounded; many horizontal and ascending branches, pendulous

image Ilex opaca tree
LEAF FORM & SHAPE ….. 1.5″-3″ obovate, impressed veins, obtusely serrated, thin, light
LEAF ARRANGEMENT ….. simple, alternate
LEAF COLOR ….. Deciduous | dark green, turning bright yellow in fall
FEATURES, BUDS, FLOWERS, FRUIT
FLOWERS | small white in spring
BERRIES | beautiful bright orange red
NATIVE HABITAT
SOIL does well in moist to dry and slightly alkaline
Native MD to FL and west to TX

Duke / Ilex opaca

BBC Gardening / Ilex opaca

Dave’s Garden / Ilex opaca

Cheasepeake Bay / American Holly

image Ilex opaca 'Xanthocarpa' yellow berries

Ilex opaca, originally uploaded by 3 John 1:4.

Ilex opaca, originally uploaded by intheburg.