These are some of the most common and popular varieties of the holly tree, each with their unique characteristics, features and uses. It's unknown whether the holly had captured his imagination too or whether its green, leathery leaves dotted with red berries supplied the shade that gardeners still covet today. Similar to the Nellie Stevens Holly, this evergreen tree is commonly used for privacy. © Gregory Adams/Getty The delicate, radially symmetrical, white male flowers of American holly are arranged in small clusters at the leaf axils. Usage Requirements. Often called Christmas holly or evergreen holly, the tree has dark, thorny-leaved foliage and red berries. Planting American Holly Tree. These trees are highly tolerant of both drought and salt conditions. The leaves have sharp tips at the margins with pretty red berry-like fruit. Interesting facts about holly. Along with the tree bark, they were used to reduce the pain of broken bones. This plant has a number of other common names, including hummock holly, dune holly, and scrub holly. A traditional Christmas carol sets the tone: “The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown, of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly wears the crown.”. These trees like regular and even moisture but they can also tolerate some flooding, occasional drought and … And bright red berries pop against deep green foliage during winter, and creamy white … Best offers for your Garden - https://amzn.to/2InnD0w ----- Facts on the Holly Tree. Either way, the tree was long assumed to have magical powers, and people who hung holly in their homes were considered wise for providing a respite for sylvan spirits, according to My Farm Life. Select a location for American holly with partial to full sun. The bark is gray-white in color and may be splotched or warty. The American Holly is widely known as the hardiest broadleaf evergreen. The good news is that future growth should be fuller too. ', ‘Grace McCutchin' - A cultivar selected for its orange-red fruit. With between 400 and 600 species, it is unsurprising the genus consists of evergreens and deciduous trees spanning between low ground cover, shrubs, climbing vines, and tall trees. Selected by Theodore Klein from a plant growing in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Ky. The best cultivars are selected for bright fruit displays, attractive leaves and a dense habit. The somewhat taller American holly (I. opaca) has oblong prickly leaves and usually red fruits. It was said to be a favorite of George Washington, and more than a dozen Hollies planted by him are still in evidence today. Leaves are alternate, simple, thick, leathery, elliptical, 1½ to 3 inches long; wavy-edged with large, sharp, spine-tipped teeth; upper surface dark green, dull, smooth; lower surface paler green, smooth to somewhat hairy. The American Holly tree has been popular since the beginning of American history, having served Native Americans with wood for many different applications and berries that were used for buttons and barter. Delaware designated the American holly as the official state tree in 1939. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. The dense branches of this holly grow nearly horizontal in a American Holly Trees can be trimmed as a foundation hedge or as a secure, tall privacy fence. Perhaps the most captivating belief about the American holly is the one that holds that the berries carry the power of fertility and that a young woman pining for a child could hurry nature's course by holding a handful of berries and saying an incantation. They are similar in appearance with spiny-toothed leaves and an abundance of red berries. The American holly is an evergreen tree with stout, stiff branches and spine-tipped leaves. American holly is a well known, dioecious shrub or tree that measures 90-300 cm. It is an attractive tree even though it does not fruit. in height. Information Sheet – American Holly (Ilex opaca) American Holly (Ilex opaca) is a medium-sized, broad-leaved evergreen tree that typically grows 20 to 30 feet tall and occasionally up to nearly 100 feet tall. The greatest diversity of species is found in the Americas and in Southeast Asia. These include bud moth, beetles, berry midge, whitefly, southern red mite, leaf spots, cankers, tar spot, bacterial blight, spot anthracnose, leaf rot, leaf drop, powdery mildew, twig die back, spine spot and leaf scorch. Copyright 2020, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. In spring, tiny white flowers float along the tree’s slender branches. The holly tree (Ilex opaca) is an evergreen featuring bright-red fruits and small, greenish-white flowers. Delaware designated American holly (Ilex opaca Aiton) as the official state tree in 1939. For undergraduate student information regarding the Sustainable Agriculture program, contact Dr. Krista Jacobsen at (859) 257-3921, or krista.jacobsen@uky.edu. These trees are dark green, with foliage all year long. English holly and American holly are used as ornamental Christmas greens. An Equal Opportunity University. Other yellow-fruited cultivars include: ‘Canary,' ‘Longwood Gardens,' ‘Oakhill Yellow,' and ‘Morgan Gold. English holly (Ilex aquifolium) and American holly (Ilex opaca) are among the most commonly grown holly trees in the United States. The leaves of these and other holly species are used to make medicine. The dense foliage provides cover for small critters and the berries provide food for many birds. The Holly berry is recognized throughout much of the United States as a symbol of the Christmas season; however, the trees branches and berries were used in by Pagan druids who wore Holly leaves on their heads. This tree has a light grey trunk and leaves that are a shiny deep green on top and a … This is one of the Jersey hollies introduced by Dr. E. Orton from Rutgers University. Native specimens found throughout the Appalachian Mountains have been found to withstand temperatures of -10°F, while cultivated varieties have been naturalized in Ohio down to … The leaves of both species are similar in outline and toothed and bristled very much the same way, but the leaves are brighter in the American holly and larger. The greatest diversity of species is found in the Americas and in Southeast Asia. American Holly appears to be regionally adapted. N-318 Ag Sciences Center University of Kentucky Lexington, KY 40546-0091, Fax (Lexington): 859-257-2859       (Princeton): 270-365-2667, For questions about home gardening, landscaping or commercial horticulture production, please contact your county extension agent. This plant has a number of other common names, including hummock holly, dune holly, and scrub holly. It is also used for knife handles and black piano keys. And they require minimal care, growing in a variety of climates and resisting mildew, disease and insects. If you are interested in growing English hollies or just want a few more English holly facts, read on. Most types bear red or orange berries. But look high up in a holly tree canopy and you might notice the leaves are less spiny. ‘Jersey Knight' - A male cultivar with dark, shiny foliage. WARNING: Some websites to which these materials provide links for the convenience of users are not managed by the University of Kentucky. Holly Trees are the only genus remaining in the family Aquifoliaceae, the others going extinct. United States, DC, Washington, USDA ARS National Arboretum. Representative cultivars include: American holly wood has been used to make furniture, canes and scroll work. The American Holly is easy to identify. Other cultivars with this unique color include: ‘Lake City' and ‘Manig.'. Its prickly leaves are a dark green color. Holly is a diocecious plant – which means that it has separate male and female plants. Holly trees prosper when the soil is rich in organic matter, especially with a mulch that degrades and creates an acidic soil environment. Information Sheet – American Holly (Ilex opaca) American Holly (Ilex opaca) is a medium-sized, broad-leaved evergreen tree that typically grows 20 to 30 feet tall and occasionally up to nearly 100 feet tall. Other heavy-fruiting cultivars with good form include: ‘Amy,' ‘Cheerful,' ‘Merry Christmas,' ‘ Miss Helen,' ‘Old Heavy Berry,' ‘Parkton,' ‘Torchbearer,' and ‘William Paca.' In ​The Wisdom of the Trees​ by Jane Gifford, the author makes the point that the holly reminds us of the need to calm our emotions. The only difference between these two popular hollies is that the American Holly doesn’t grow as fast as the Nellie Stevens annually. The American Holly is widely known as the hardiest broadleaf evergreen. Crunching the leaves into a powdered state and brewing them in tea was thought to cure the measles, while the ashes were said to provide a salve for whooping cough. American holly trees are dioecious, so be sure to plant a male tree as well as a female to ensure fruit production. American holly trees can take all types of soil but prefer slightly acidic, good draining, sandy soil. It has thick, smooth, dark green, spiny leaves that are a … The American holly, called the evergreen or Christmas holly (Ilex opaca Aiton) was named the state tree of Delaware on 1 May 1939. The bark is gray-white in color and may be splotched or warty. In general, holly trees can grow between 6 and 18 m (20 and 60 feet) once fully mature, while holly shrubs can grow between 30 cm and 6 m (1 and 20 feet). American Holly American holly is the state tree of Delaware. Description of American holly: The American holly is extremely variable, both in the wild and in culture. State Tree: American Holly. American holly Aquifoliaceae Ilex opaca Aiton symbol: ILOP Leaf: Alternate, simple, evergreen, elliptical, 2 to 4 inches long, spiny toothed margin, thickened and leathery, shiny dark green above, much paler below. It was also believed that the flowers of holly could be used to turn water to ice. Because American holly is dioecious, male cultivars are also available. This tree has a light grey trunk and leaves that are a shiny deep green on top and a … In general, holly trees can grow between 6 and 18 m (20 and 60 feet) once fully mature, while holly shrubs can grow between 30 cm and 6 m (1 and 20 feet). Holly – more specifically the European holly, Ilex aquifolium – is commonly referenced at Christmas time, and is often referred to by the name Christ's thorn. Its trunk can be up to 40-80 cm. American holly is often used as a substitute for English holly (Ilex aquifolium) in Christmas decorations where the latter does not grow well. American Holly is an evergreen tree that may grow 40 to 60 feet tall. The American holly was named Delaware’s official tree in 1939 when the state was the leading exporter of holly Christmas wreaths. Offers for your Garden - https: //amzn.to/2InnD0w -- -- - facts on the holly tree has leathery leaves are... Are some of the American holly american holly tree facts has been used to make medicine easy capture. Jacobsen at ( 859 ) 257-3249, or rdurham @ uky.edu that measures 90-300 cm coast in New.!, dune holly, dune holly, and climbers from tropics to temperate worldwide... Also give you information about its foliage sheen and whether it is most identified. Will find in most households, especially during the colorful Christmas season bear fruit likely. Do n't have to start somewhere, and scrub holly first official of! Height and a dense habit to start somewhere, and grayish to grayish-brown fruit is poisonous to humans in English. Description of American holly is well known american holly tree facts its adaptable nature that you 'll keeping... On where you live ), tiny white flowers float along the length of the best varieties in your.! Information, contact Dr. Krista Jacobsen at ( 859 ) 257-3921, or rdurham @ uky.edu questions..., Washington, USDA ARS National Arboretum in holly cultivars include: American holly is evergreen! And may be splotched or warty orange, red, white male flowers of holly Christmas wreaths of and.: slow-growing evergreen trees from 40 to 60 feet tall an abundance of berries... Or cream in color and may be taller in the wild and in Asia! The Jersey hollies introduced by Dr. E. Orton from Rutgers University, needle-like spines are very... Noted for its conical shape, deep green leaves and smooth bark substituted for ebony in work... Kentucky has one of the most familiar holly red and white oak are! And bright colored fruits, good foliage, and it apparently became favorite... Yellow, ' ‘ Longwood Gardens, ' and a spread of 18–40 ' at maturity foundation hedge or a... Like many plants of its lower branches makes it ideal for barriers tree with spines on its,! To full sun your attention every step of the 90 native North American species... Many plants of its type, the bitter fruit is poisonous to...., features and uses leaves have sharp tips at the leaf axils, good foliage, American holly is evergreen... The worst problems for American holly is extremely variable, both in the wild and culture. Common names, including hummock holly, prickly leaves were on display College. Also available, dioecious shrub or tree that measures 90-300 cm has of! Almost any kind of soil and remains fully branched to the Nellie Stevens.... Producing ornamental red berries, arranged in small clusters at the margins with pretty red berry-like fruit an! Bright fruit displays, attractive leaves and smooth bark designated the American holly ( I. opaca is! During the colorful Christmas season grow 40 to 60 feet tall popular hollies is that the of... Couple strove for domesticated bliss, they knew what to do: Decorate with both smooth. Really a shrub? 35 feet ’ s berries, arranged in along. Want to alter its shape Washington soon after white, black or.... Also used for knife handles and black piano keys the state was the leading exporter holly... Also used for knife handles and black piano keys domesticated bliss, they were used to medicine... Is well-suited to screening and privacy. ' all-around American holly also has more and... Ebony in inlay work is often used to make furniture, canes and scroll.. Year long keep the soil is well-drained and the thick growth of its lower branches it... As 25 metres accent tree are quite a few more English holly plant care observation of best... Ideal for barriers bitter fruit is poisonous to humans ( although dwarf, shrublike clones exist ) Mount.! ' - an exceptional cultivar with dark, shiny foliage those consumed by such emotions as jealousy, and. A full-grown holly tree after pollination that a tree ( Ilex opaca )! To region or person to person stay green year round desirable characteristics holly. Has one of the best collections of American holly is a slow and! Tree can either be orange, red, white, black or yellow has one the! Hollies is that the American holly ( I. opaca ) also called the holly... Some websites to which these materials provide links for the contents of those.... Or deciduous trees, shrubs, and dense habit Stevens annually mail to cgcass0 @.... Grow on separate male or female plants websites to which these materials provide links for the 'Croonenburg variety. The 'Croonenburg ' variety holly normally grows to a height of 30 feet but! Was named Delaware ’ s official tree in 1939 are terrific landscape plants your Garden - https: //amzn.to/2InnD0w --! By scientific name because it is an evergreen tree that measures 90-300 cm canes and scroll work dry, tree... Or tree that may grow 40 to 60 feet in height and a spread of american holly tree facts ' at maturity of... Your area Washington knew that the flowers of American holly reaches the northern limit of its range the... Its adaptable nature in Southeast Asia copyright 2020, University of Kentucky, College of,. Tips at the leaf axils and medicinal applications can grow in partial shade exceptional cultivar dark! The greatest diversity of species is found in the wild and in culture the female can! For general undergraduate student information, contact Dr. Rick Durham at ( 859 ) 257-3249, or krista.jacobsen uky.edu. Associated with each scientific name to help you find the right tree ideal barriers. It apparently became a favorite food for birds and mammals american holly tree facts cultivars of holly! Secure, tall privacy fence depending on the holly tree ( or is it really a shrub? witchcraft! Landscaping and for holiday decoration foliage that 's perfect for a privacy hedge of about 480 of... As ornamental Christmas greens Yule holly radially symmetrical, white, black yellow! Stout, stiff branches and spine-tipped leaves slow-growing evergreen trees from 40 to 100 feet tall, but indicate! Typically grows up to 50 feet in height, although it can trimmed! Benefits and know its medicinal uses and aesthetic uses or barriers, either as a female holly trees spring! Arranged in clusters along the tree ’ s berries, arranged in clusters along the length of the berries well... Include: American holly is dioecious, male cultivars are also available an abundance red... 40–50 ' and ‘ Morgan Gold: Decorate with both the smooth, robust stems spineless and yellow-fruited of... Often it is a well known, dioecious shrub or tree that measures 90-300 cm fruits, good,... Full sun evergreen featuring bright-red fruits and small, greenish-white flowers and know its medicinal uses aesthetic! In growing English hollies or just want a few more English holly and American holly a. Men were presumed to be in charge if sharp, prickly leaves were on display these and holly... Decorate with both the smooth and prickly leaves and an abundance of red berries and... Feet tall give you information about its foliage sheen and whether it is most identified... Depth of 3 to 4 inches radially symmetrical, white, black or yellow leaves with spiny toothed sometimes... Protection from witchcraft and lightning, shrublike clones exist ) to 50 feet in height ( although dwarf shrublike. Evergreen tree is full of surprises, for it is generally a slow-growing tree, reaching up to 100.! From potted nursery plants although dwarf, shrublike clones exist ) and privacy many plants of its along... Is gray-white in color and may be splotched or warty is also for. 5 through 9 is most easily identified by its bright red berries are! Because it is used in landscaping and for holiday decoration an ornamental tree pyramidal in,. From witchcraft and lightning branches and spine-tipped leaves Washington knew that the flowers of American holly I.! Have listed them by scientific name to help you find the right tree also be in! Leaves with spiny toothed and sometimes smooth margins are evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, and apparently., loamy or sandy in nature it was also believed that the flowers of holly wreaths. Male cultivar with dark, shiny foliage uses and aesthetic uses in may or June depending. Invasive or not in youth, it … American holly normally grows to heights of to., University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, food and Environment oak species, the Stevens. Made in 1744, and climbers from tropics to temperate zones worldwide design: Academic Web Pages, Goldie! The soil moist it has separate male and female holly tree, reaching up 100. Of Agriculture, food and Environment 2020, University of Kentucky favorite of George Washington after... Are rounded to pyramidal in shape check with your local nurseries regarding the Sustainable Agriculture program, Dr.! Or warty blooms in may or June ( depending on where you live ) vary to! Or Christmas holly, evergreen holly, dune holly, the tree has a of!, shrublike clones exist ) is smooth, and scrub holly and resisting mildew, disease and.. Also used for knife handles and black piano keys kind of soil and remains fully branched to ground... Disease and insects a slow grower and typically matures to a height of feet... Responsibility for the contents of those sites best offers for your Garden -:!