Characteristics of American Holly Tree (Ilex opaca) in the Wild

Ilex opaca
American holly (Ilex opaca) is a tree species originating from the United States, its habitat starting from the coast of southern Massachusetts, central Florida, southeast Missouri, and eastern Texas.

The American holly tree is cultivated for use as an ornamental tree and planted as a shrub in the yard. More than 1,000 American holly cultivars have been chosen as ornamental and shrub trees.

The American holly tree is now a popular Christmas decoration. In English poetry and stories, holly is inseparably connected with congratulations and greetings that gather around Christmas time. This custom is followed in North America, holly is widely used for decorating homes and churches.


Feature of American Holly Leaf

Ilex opaca Leaf
Source : Rall

The leaves are 5-7.5 cm long, 2-4 cm wide, stiff, yellowish-green, have a jagged edge, and are very similar to European Holly (Ilex aquifolium) leaves.


Feature of American Holly Flower

Ilex opaca Flower
Source :

The flowers are greenish in color, small in shape, appearing in late spring along the young branches.


Characteristics of American Holly Fruit

Ilex opaca Fruit
Source : College Arboretum

American holly fruit is red, small, seeded, 6-12 mm in diameter, each fruit contains 4 seeds, and the fruit stays in the tree until winter.


Characteristics of the American Holly Tree

Ilex opaca Tree
Source : 1

American holly trees can grow to a height of 10-15 meters and form a large bush with a trunk diameter reaching 50-60 cm. The bark is light gray, rough, and has many small bumps.

The tree is tolerant of shade or shaded growing areas. He also forms a thick canopy that offers protection for birds from predators and storms.


The wood can be used to make cabinets and as a substitute for black wood which is famous for its strength and durability (although American holly wood has a quality below that of ebony/ironwood).

The sap contains substances used as herbal tonics.

American holly leaves can be used to make drinks like tea and do not contain caffeine.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.