Ilex opaca Aiton

American Holly




Family: Aquifoliaceae

Genus: Ilex

Category: Tree - Evergreen

Zones: 5 to 9

Size: 20 to 30' tall, 10 to 25' wide in the landscape

Growth Rate: Slow

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


Slower growing than many other species. Leaves have spines which are regularly spaced around the margin. Not usually as lustrous as Ilex cornuta or Ilex x attenuata. Pyramidal form when young but opens out with age. Leaf color is more yellow-green or olive-green than other cultivated hollies.


Over 1000 cultivars named.

'Aiken Red' - large, tight, conical form, heavy berry set, large leaves and berries.


Published in Hortus Kew. 1: 169 in 1789. Noted as being Native to 'Carolina' and cultivated in 1744 by Archibald Duke of Argyle.

Native to the eastern U, from Florida to New England, in shady woodlands where they are typically very open in habit and sparse.

The status of the name is unresolved according to PlantList.


Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner