(Ilex opaca)
The Holly Family (Aquifoliaceae)

A hardy evergreen tree with a pyramidal shape with leaves that are thick, leathery, and alternately arranged with one to several prominent spines.


Found in shaded woods, stream and river banks in uplands and lowlands. Primarily an understory tree.

Interesting Facts: 

Known as Christmas holly because its branches with red berries are commonly used as decorations for that holiday.

.25 - .5” red berries, rarely yellow, found only on female trees.
.25” greenish white flowers in clusters on short stalks; male and female flowers on separate plants.
Wildlife value: 
Small mammals and at least 18 species of birds eat the berries including the wild turkey. The flowers valuable source of nectar and important to honey bees.
Leaf type: 
Wildlife value: 
Tree dimensions: 

Leaf length: 2.00-4.00 inches
Tree height: 15.00-50.00 feet

Where to find American Holly on the Louisiana State Arboretum Trails:

PAW - Pawpaw Loop Trail 16.0

TER - Walker Terrace 12.0

Refer to our Live Map to locate this species and its interpretative signage on the trail system.