Ilex vomitoria Aiton
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: yaupon holly
  • LEAVES: evergreen, alternate, simple; blades thick and glossy, elliptic, 0.5-2” long by 0.5-1” wide, margins crenate
  • FLOWER: mostly unisexual, some bisexual, plants typically functionally dioecious; flowers born in axillary fascicles, individual flowers ca. 0.25” broad, with 4 sepals and 4 white petals; flowering in April
  • FRUIT: red drupe ca 0.25” broad
  • TWIGS: slender, stiff, light gray, eventually glabrous
  • BARK: light to medium gray, thin and smooth
  • FORM: evergreen shrub or small tree to ca. 25’ tall
  • HABITAT: can be found in almost any moist to dry (to xeric) habitat, including in understories of various forest types (inland and maritime), and along fencerows; can form dense thickets without fire and is problematic in native prairies and pine grasslands that have not had adequate fire; regarded as a weed in native grasslands and wooded grasslands, rangelands, and pine plantations
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative (FAC): Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: southeastern US [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: a naturally caffeinated tea can be brewed from dried leaves; used in folk medicine as an emetic and purgative; ornamental/hedge plant
  • WILDLIFE: fruit are consumed by many wildlife, including birds and mammals; nectar plant for pollinators; good whitetail deer browse; thickets provide wildlife cover in winter
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. multi-stemmed shrub with smooth gray bark
    2. small evergreen glossy leaves with crenate margins
    3. bright red drupes