Ilex opaca Ait.

TSO logo

Sponsor this page

For information about how you could sponsor this page, see How You Can Help

Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Ilex opaca' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/ilex/ilex-opaca/). Accessed 2020-06-04.

Genus

Common Names

  • American Holly

Glossary

apex
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
calyx
(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.

References

There are currently no active references in this article.

Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Ilex opaca' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/ilex/ilex-opaca/). Accessed 2020-06-04.

An evergreen tree sometimes 40 to 50 ft high in the wild, with a trunk 6 to 9 ft in girth, resembling the common holly in habit; young shoots minutely downy. Leaves dull green above, yellow-green beneath, oval, tapered more abruptly at the base than at the spine-tipped apex, 112 to 312 in. long, half as wide, the margins armed with broad, spine-tipped teeth, which tend to disappear from the uppermost leaves of adult specimens; stalk grooved, 14 to 12 in. long, minutely downy. Male flowers in three- to nine-flowered, slender-stalked cymes; females usually solitary; all small, dull white; calyx-lobes edged with minute hairs. Fruits red, round, 14 in. diameter, on a stalk about as long.

Native of the eastern and central United States; introduced in 1744. In gardens this species is only likely to be confused with the Himalayan I. dipyrena, which has similarly opaque, evergreen foliage, but that species has longer narrow leaves with shorter stalks, and much shorter-stalked, more congested flower-clusters. The fruit also is larger. I. opaca sometimes bears fruit very freely in this country, and is then ornamental, but it is never so attractive as our common native species. There is a fine specimen of this species at Kew near the south end of the Holly Avenue.


f. xanthocarpa Rehd

Fruits yellow; has been found wild in Massa­chusetts. Introduced in 1901.In the USA, the American holly is a valued ornamental, and numerous cultivars are in commerce there, scarcely known in Europe. Hybrids between it and I. cassine are also grown, the most noteworthy being ‘East Palatka’, a female with almost entire leaves, and the narrow-leaved Foster hybrids. This cross also occurs in the wild, and its botanical name is I. × attenuata Ashe.

Feedback

A site produced by the International Dendrology Society.

For copyright and licence information, see the Licence page.

To contact the editors: info@treesandshrubsonline.org.