Hollies Native to Central Florida

ilex vomitoria

Yaupon Holly

Habit: Evergreen shrub or small bushy tree, may reach 25 ft.  Sprouts appear at the roots commonly forming dense thickets.

Leaves:  Alternate, simple, dark green, elliptic to oval, 1/4 – 1 1/8 in. long and 1/4 – 1 in. wide

Flowers:  Dioecious. Small and borne in the axils. 

Fruit:  Bright red berry, 1/4 in. in diameter

Habitat: Coastal dunes, woodlands, pine flatwoods.  It generally inhabits well drained soils, but can be found along streams and wet  woodlands.


ilex ambigua

Carolina Holly

Habit: Deciduous shrub with light gray bark. Rarely 20 ft. in height.

Leaves: Alternate, simple with crenate to serrate margins, 1 – 4 in. long, and 1/2 – 2 in. wide.

Flowers: Male flowers are borne in clusters, and the female flowers are solitary. Dioecious.

Fruit: Mature fruit is red, 3/16 – 5/16 in. in diameter.

Habitat: Found in mixed woods, and sand ridges.

ilex cassine

Dahoon Holly

Habit: Evergreen tree, with gray, smooth trunk, reaching a height of 40 feet.

Leaves: Alternate, simple, 1 1/4 – 5 1/2 in. long, margins entire to toothed, tips have a small bristle.

Flowers: Small, white, with four petals. Dioecious.

Fruit: Red, yellow, or orange berries, 1/4 – 3/8 in. in diameter.

Habitat: Edges of rivers, and streams, wet hammocks, and moist sites.

ilex decidua

Posumhaw holly

Habit: Deciduous understory tree up to 32 ft.

Leaves: Alternate, simple, spatulate to obovate, from 1 – 3 in. long and 1/2 – 1 3/4 in. wide, margins are entire to crenate.

Flowers: Found singly, or a small cluster in the leaf axils. Dioecious.

Fruit: Red, yellow, or orange, 3/16 – 3/8 in. in diameter, with a 3/4 in. long stalk.

Habitat: Flood plains, wet thickets, infrequently on well drained slopes or ridges

ilex glabra


Habit: Evergreen shrub to 9 ft. Spreads by underground runners.

Leaves: Margins entire to somewhat toothed, elliptic to slightly obovate, 1 3/8 – 2 in. long.

Flowers: Dioecious. Mostly singly in the leaf axils.

Fruit: Black, 3/16 – 1/4 in. in diameter.

Habitat: Pine savannas, flatwoods, bogs, seepage areas, and acid prairies.

ilex opaca

American Holly

Habit: An evergreen tree reaching 50 ft. in height.

Leaves: Alternate, simple, thick & leathery, dark green, 1 1/8 – 4 3/4 in. long and 3/4 – 2 1/8 in. wide, margins spiny toothed with sharp bristles.

Flowers: Dioecious. Small and arising at the leaf axils.

Fruit: Bright red and 1/4 – 1/2 in. in diameter.

Habitat: Mesic, sub-mesic woods, river banks, and flood plains.