Shrubs or trees, with entire dentate or spiny-toothed, minutely stipulate leaves, and axillary cymose or solitary, perfect or polygamous flowers. Calyx small, 4-5-cleft or toothed. Petals 4-9, somewhat united at the base, oblong, obtuse. Stamens of the same number, adnate to the base of the corolla. Berry-like drupe globose, with 4-8 bony or crustaceous nutlets. [Ancient name of the Holly oak.]

About 280 species, mostly American, some in Asia, Africa and Australia. Besides the following, some 5 others occur in the southeastern United States. Type species: Ilex Aquifolium L.

Leaves thick, evergreen, persistent.

Nutlets ribbed.

Leaves spiny-toothed.


I. opaca.

Leaves dentate or entire, not spiny.

Leaves entire or few-toothed; calyx-lobes acute.


I. Cassine.

Leaves coarsely crenate; calyx-lobes obtuse.


I. vomitoria.

Nutlets not ribbed; leaves dotted beneath.

Leaves oblanceolate, obtusish; drupe 2"-3" in diameter.


I. glabra.

Leaves obovate, acute; drupe 3"-4" in diameter.


I. coriacea.

Leaves thin, deciduous.

Nutlets ribbed; peduncles 1-flowered.

Leaves small, obovate or spatulate, crenate.


I. decidua.

Leaves large, ovate or lanceolate, sharply serrate.


I. montana.

Nutlets not ribbed.

Flowers all short-pedicelled.

Twigs brown; leaves oval to oblong.


I. verticillata.

Twigs grey; leaves obovate to nearly orbicular.


I. bronxensis.

Staminate flowers on long and slender pedicels.


I. laevigata.

1 Ilex L Sp Pl 125 1753 1128

1. Ilex opÓca Ait. American or White Holly. Fie. 2786.

Ilex opaca Ait. Hort. Kew. 1: 169. 1789.

A tree of slow growth, sometimes 500 high, and with a trunk diameter of 3 1/2o. Young twigs sparingly pubescent; leaves elliptical or obovate, 2-4' long, l'-1 1/2' wide, evergreen, glabrous on both sides, obtuse or acutish at the apex, spiny-tipped, spinose-dentate, at least toward the apex, rarely nearly or quite entire; petioles 2"-4" long, sometimes puberulent; peduncles 2-bracted; staminate cymes 3-10-flowered, 1/2'-1' long; fertile flowers mostly scattered and solitary; calyx-lobes acute, ciliate; stigma sessile; drupe globose or globose-oblong, red, rarely yellow, 4"-5" in diameter; nutlets ribbed.

In moist woods, Massachusetts to Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri and Texas. Most abundant near the coast. Wood hard, nearly white; weight per cubic foot 36 lbs. Ascends to 3000 ft. in North Carolina. April-June.