Shrubs or trees, with evergreen, alternate or opposite, simple, coriaceous, exstipu-late leaves. Flowers small, axillary, sometimes dioecious. Sepals 4 to 6, imbricate in bud, very minute. Cor. regular, 4-6-cleft or parted, hypogynous, imbricate in sestivation. Sta. inserted into the very short tube of the corolla and alternate with its segments. Anth. adnate. Ova. free from the calyx, 2-6-celled, with a solitary, .suspended ovule in each cell. Fr. drupaceous, with 2-6 stones or nucules. Albumen large, fleshy.
Genera 11, species 110, natives of America and S. Africa, only one, Hex the Holly. Ilex aqui-folium, which gives name to the Order, being found in Europe.
Properties.-The bark and leaves of Prinos verticillatus (black alder) are eminently astringent arid tonic, as well as those of the Holly. The berries are emetic and purgative. The leaves of Prinos glaber, and Hex Paraguensis are used for tea, the latter well known as the Mate or Paraguay Tea.
The idea of uniting the two genera Ilex and Prinos was advanced by Dr. Win. Baldwin, in 1816 (" Reliquiae," p."841) in consequence of discovering some of the deciduous species of Ilex which he at first mistook for Prinos. The suggestion has since been repeated by several authors, and at length Prof. Gray (Manual, p. 268) includes both under one name (Ilex). The two groups, however, seem to us quite as distinct as Gaylussaeia and Vaccinium; and moreover, Nemo-Nemo-panthes is intermediate.
§ Habitually tetramerous. Drupe with 4, bony, sulcate nutlets...........
§ Habitually tetramerous. Drupe with 4, horny, smooth nutlets...........
§ Habitually hexamerons. Berry with 6 (7, 8) smooth, cartilaginous seeds.
1. ILEX, L. Holly. (The ancient name of the Holm Oak, the derivation uncertain.) Fls. 4 (rarely 5)-parted, mostly perfect but many abortive; calyx 4-toothed, persistent; corolla of 4 obtuse petals distinct or scarcely united at base; stamens 4 ; stigmas 4, or united into one; drupe red, with 4 bony nutlets, ribbed and furrowed on the convex hack.-Lvs. alternate. Fls. small, white, lateral, single or clustered.
§ Trees evergreen - the leaves armed with spinous teeth...............................
§ Shurbs evergreen - the leaves unarmed, serrate or entire...........................
§ Shrubs deciduous, the leaves thin, serrate or entire.....................................
1 I. opaca L. American Holly. Arborescent; lvs. oval, acute, with strong, spinous teeth, coriaceous smooth, and shining, fascicles lax, peduncles compound; cal. teeth acute; drupe ovate, nutlets 5-ribbed on the back.-A tree of middle size, quite generally diffused throughout the U. S., from Mass. to Ga. and La. it is chiefly interesting for its foliage, which is of an exceedingly rich, shining, perennial green. Fls. in scattered clusters at the base of the new branchlets, and the fertile ones are succeeded by red berries, which remain until late in Autumn. Jn.
β. Lvs. mostly entire, a few of them with a single spinous tooth towards the apex.-Macon, Ga., etc. Lvs. exactly oval, very different from I. Dahoon.
2 I. Dahoon Walt. Dahoon Holly. Lvs. oblong-lanceolate, coriaceous, smooth shining, ovate or somewhat pointed at each end, beneath pubescent, at least on the midvein, as well as the petioles and pedicels, margin entire or sometimes serrate, clusters of fls. pedunculate; fls. 4-parted.-A fine shrub, 5 to 12f high, in swamps, Va. to Fla. Lvs. 2 to 3' long, a third as wide, pale beneath. Drupes red, the 4 bony nutlets rugous-ribbed, on the convex back. May.
β. Lvs. larger, oblong-elliptic, obtuse, on very short petioles.-Ga. (Dr. Feay). γ. Lvs. linear-lanceolate, cuneate at base, mostly entire, acute.-Ga. (I. ligus trina Ell.)
3 I. Cassena Walt. Cassena Tea. Lvs. oval, obtuse, crenate, glabrous, shining when old; clusters about 3-flowered, scarcely peduncled; fls. 4-parted; nutlets about 3-ribbed on the convex back.-A shining, evergreen, bushy shrub, common in S. States, near the coast, 6 to 15f high. Lvs. little more than 1' long. Fertile fls. nearly sessile, sterile pedicels 2 to 3" long. Drupe scarlet, with 4 bony nutlets. Mar., Apr.-Used by the Creek Indians as a tea.
4 I. myrtifolia Walt. Lvs. linear-oblong, small, glabrous, acute or submucronate, nearly entire, shining above, branchlets glandular-puberulent; ped. slender, brac-teolate, corymbously 3 to 9-flowered, or the fertile 1-flowered; drupes red.-A large shrub 12 to 20f high, in the borders of ponds in pine barrens, Md. (Shriver) to Fla. Branches crooked, divaricate, with light gray bark. Lvs. less than 1' in length, shining, rigid, often with a few acute serratures. May.-Varies with the branchlets smooth; lvs. obtuse, more or less serrate, etc.
5. I. decidua Walt. Lvs. lanceolate, acute or slightly acuminate at both ends, glabrous, slightly appressed-serrate; ped. 1-flowered, short (3" long), the sterile glomerate, the fertile solitary; fls. 4 to 5-parted; cal. ciliate; nutlets large, obtusely ridged.-Shrub 6 to 9f high, with slender branches, in sandy woods, Car. to Fla, common. Lvs. thin, at flowering time 1 1/2 to 2' long, tapering to slender petioles. Ped. 2 to 3" long. Apr. (I. prinoides L.)
β. urbana. Lvs. (2 to 3' long) cuneate-oval, obtuse, erenately appressed-serrate, dark green, attenuate at base.-III. opposite St. Louis, etc.
6 I. monticola Gray. Lvs. ovate, obtuse, or subcordaie at base, acuminate, glabrous, serrate, thin; fls. on short pedicels, 4-parted; cal. ciliate; nutlets strongly ridged.-Mountain woods, Catskill, N. Y. to Car. Shrub about 6f high. Lvs. large, deciduous, 2 to 4' by 1 to 2', at base acute, obtuse or subcordato. Pedicels 3 or more in a cluster, 1 to 2" long. (I. ambigua Torr. N. Y. Fl.)
2. NEMOPAN'THES, Raf. (Gr. a thread, afoot; a flower ; alluding to the slender pedicels.) Calyx 4 to 5-lobcd ; petals 4 to 5, distinct, linear or oblong; stamens 4 to 5 ; ovary hemispherical ; stigmas 4 to 5, sessile ; fruit a subglobous drupe, with 4 to 5 smooth, horny nutlets.-Shrubs with alternate, entire, deciduous lvs. Fls. on slender pedicels, usually dioecio-polygamous by abortion. Ber-ries red.-A genus intermediate between Hex and Prinos.