This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Shrubs or trees, evergreen or deciduous. Leaves simple, alternate, usually glabrous, coriaceous, entire or with prickly teeth, destitute of stipules. Flowers regular, small, white, in axillary or terminal cymes or fascicles. Calyx 3- to 5-partite, imbricate. Petals 4 or 5, hypogynous, connate at the base, spreading. Stamens 4 or 5, filaments free or slightly adhering to the base of the petals. Fruit a drupe, more or less fleshy, with 3 to 8 1-seeded stones. Besides the genus Ilex, containing about 145 widely-distributed species, there are two other genera : one Australasian, of three species; and one North American, with only one species.