This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
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.
Leaves dentate or entire, not spiny.
Leaves entire or few-toothed; calyx-lobes acute.
Leaves coarsely crenate; calyx-lobes obtuse.
Nutlets not ribbed; leaves dotted beneath.
Leaves oblanceolate, obtusish; drupe 2"-3" in diameter.
Leaves obovate, acute; drupe 3"-4" in diameter.
Leaves thin, deciduous.
Nutlets ribbed; peduncles 1-flowered.
Leaves small, obovate or spatulate, crenate.
Leaves large, ovate or lanceolate, sharply serrate.
Nutlets not ribbed.
Flowers all short-pedicelled.
Twigs brown; leaves oval to oblong.
Twigs grey; leaves obovate to nearly orbicular.
Staminate flowers on long and slender pedicels.
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.