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American Holly

Ilex opaca


American Holly is a small tree or large shrub which is very easy to identify. It grows up to 60 feet tall, but is usually much smaller. American Holly leaves are dark green, tough, and leathery. Sometimes they are very shiny. Underneath, they are yellowish-green. Holly leaves have several "prickles" on the edges. The flowers of American Holly are small and white. They usually bloom from April to June. Fruits of this tree are called drupes. The drupes are green and berry-like, turning to bright red. Drupes grow from September to November and stay on the tree through the winter. Animals who each the berries are important to the American Holly, because that is how its seeds get spread to grow new trees. American Holly also depends on insects, such as bees, wasps, and moths to pollinate its flowers.


It grows best on well drained, sandy soils, but will tolerate those which are somewhat poorly drained. This small tree has good shade tolerance, but does well in direct sun. Although this species is often found growing on coastal sand dunes, it is not very salt spray tolerant.


This tree to is a desirable ornamental sought after for Christmas decoration.

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1 Comment

keithp2012 8 years ago

American Holly

New York, New York, USA

Lat: 40.70, Long: -73.35

Spotted on Oct 29, 2010
Submitted on Oct 29, 2010

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