AMERICAN HOLLY Ilex opaca
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Ilex opaca, the American holly, is often cultivated by plant nurseries for use as a broadleaf evergreen ornamental plant, planted as a shrub or slower growing ornamental tree. It is native to the eastern and south-central United States, from coastal Massachusetts south to central Florida, and west to southeastern Missouri and eastern Texas.
It is a popular winter Christmas and holiday season decoration, and is widely used for decoration of homes and churches. Not only is the holly associated with winter decoration, it serves as a source of food and shelter during inclement weather.
Ilex opaca is a medium-sized broadleaved evergreen tree growing on average to 10–20 m (33–66 ft) wide, and up to 30 m (98 ft) tall. The fruit (drupes) appear late in the season, and often last until midwinter.
The flowers are greenish white. Like all hollies, it is dioecious, with separate male and female plants; only female plants produce the characteristic red berries. One male can pollenize several females.
The fruit are poisonous to dogs, cats, and humans, often causing diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and drowsiness if ingested.
Type: Hardy shrub/tree
Hardiness zones: 5-10
Seeds per pack: 10
Note: Ornamental use only. These seeds and/or plants are poisonous.
Germination: Surface sow in a sterile seed-start mix. Water, and place in plastic, and in the fridge for 60 days for cold stratification. Then bring to warmth for them to germinate. Keep continually moist.
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