American Holly Ilex opaca Aiton    
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Celastrales   >   Family Aquifoliaceae   >   Genus Ilex   

Status:

Mostly a southern tree, but has been making its way northward due to its fruits' popularity with birds (Harlow, 1957).

Description:

American Holly is dioecious (meaning each tree is either male or female). The leaves are evergreen, leathery, glabrous, and dark green above. They have spiny-toothed margins. Bright red fruits (drupes) persist through the winter.

Where to find:

Most abundant on the Coastal Plain, in moist, sandy woodlands (Brown and Brown, 1972).

Relationships:

The fruits are eaten by a wide variety of birds.

The lichen Trypethelium virens often grows on American Holly in Maryland. Host plant for various species of moth including Holly Sallow Moth and members of the genus Rhopobota. Leaves are frequently mined by larvae of the leaf-mining flies Phytomyza opacae and Phytomyza ilicicola.

There are 1,078 records in the project database.

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American Holly in fruit in Charles Co., Maryland (11/28/2020). (c) johnbotany, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by John Hall. (MBP list)

American Holly growing in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/5/2017). Photo by Robert Ferraro. (MBP list)

American Holly in Calvert Co., Maryland (3/29/2016). Photo by Robert Ferraro. (MBP list)

American Holly in Prince George's Co., Maryland (9/25/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

American Holly with flower buds, in Caroline Co., Maryland (4/26/2016). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

American Holly in flower in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (5/17/2017). Photo by Robert Ferraro. (MBP list)

American Holly blooming in Kent Co., Maryland (5/24/2016). Photo by Walter Ellison. (MBP list)

American Holly in flower in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (5/11/2012). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

The flowers of American Holly in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (5/10/2017). Photo by Matthew Beziat. (MBP list)

American Holly in fruit in Harford Co., Maryland (11/13/2016). Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)

American Holly with immature fruit in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (9/10/2016). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

American Holly in fruit in Montgomery Co., Maryland (12/10/2013). Photo by Bill Hill. (MBP list)

American Holly in flower in Howard Co., Maryland (10/23/2019). Collected and processed by Helen Lowe Metzman. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

American Holly in flower in Howard Co., Maryland (10/23/2019). Collected and processed by Helen Lowe Metzman. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

American Holly flower in Howard Co., Maryland (10/23/2019). Collected and processed by Helen Lowe Metzman. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

American Holly in Frederick Co., Maryland (5/12/2016). Photo by Elizabeth Miller. (MBP list)

An American Holly on Assateague Island, Worcester Co., Maryland (2/20/2016). Overall structure representative of individuals found on the island. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

American Holly in fruit in Baltimore Co., Maryland (4/27/2020). (c) Dwight Johnson, all rights reserved. Photo by Dwight Johnson. (MBP list)

American Holly in fruit in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (12/19/2020). (c) coxfamilydc, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by coxfamilydc via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

American Holly in Caroline Co., Maryland (1/1/2021). (c) Wayne Longbottom, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

A famous 275+ year old American Holly on Wye Island, Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (11/13/2010). Photo by Danny Poet. (MBP list)

The famous, 275+ year-old American Holly at Wye Island, Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (1/21/2015). Not long after this photo was taken, severe weather dealt this giant a bad blow. Photo by Danny Poet. (MBP list)

The famous, nearly 300-year-old American Holly at Wye Island, Queen Anne's County, Maryland (2/20/2015), after being hit hard by severe weather during the winter of 2015. Photo by Danny Poet. (MBP list)


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