Plantae > Tracheophyta > Magnoliopsida > Aquifoliales > Aquifoliaceae > Ilex > Ilex opaca

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Synonyms: Ageria opaca; Ilex americana; Ilex aquifolium; Ilex canadensis; Ilex laxiflora; Ilex quercifolia

Wikipedia Abstract

Ilex opaca, the American holly, is a species of holly, native to the eastern and south-central United States, from coastal Massachusetts south to central Florida, and west to southeastern Missouri and eastern Texas.
View Wikipedia Record: Ilex opaca



Height [3]  49 feet (15 m)
Width [3]  4.9 feet (1.5 m)
Air Quality Improvement [1]  Low
Allergen Potential [1]  Medium-High
Carbon Capture [1]  Low
Screening - Summer [2]  Dense
Screening - Winter [2]  Dense
Shade Percentage [1]  81 %
Temperature Reduction [1]  Low
Wind Reduction [1]  Medium-Low
Hardiness Zone Minimum [1]  USDA Zone: 6 Low Temperature: -10 F° (-23.3 C°) → 0 F° (-17.8 C°)
Hardiness Zone Maximum [1]  USDA Zone: 9 Low Temperature: 20 F° (-6.7 C°) → 30 F° (-1.1 C°)
Light Preference [2]  Mostly Shady
Soil Acidity [2]  Moderate Acid
Soil Fertility [2]  Intermediate
Water Use [1]  Moderate
Flower Color [2]  Yellow
Foliage Color [2]  Green
Fruit Color [2]  Red
Fall Conspicuous [2]  Yes
Fruit Conspicuous [2]  Yes
Bloom Period [2]  Mid Spring
Drought Tolerance [2]  Medium
Edible [3]  May be edible. See the Plants For A Future link below for details.
Fire Tolerance [2]  Low
Flower Type [3]  Dioecious
Frost Free Days [2]  4 months 20 days
Fruit/Seed Abundance [2]  Low
Fruit/Seed Begin [2]  Summer
Fruit/Seed End [2]  Fall
Growth Form [2]  Single Stem
Growth Period [2]  Spring, Summer
Growth Rate [2]  Slow
Hazards [3]  Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stupor if eaten in quantity; The fruits can cause violent vomiting;
Janka Hardness [4]  1020 lbf (463 kgf) Soft
Leaf Type [3]  Evergreen
Lifespan [2]  Perennial
Pollinators [3]  Bees
Propagation [2]  Bare Root, Container, Cutting, Seed
Root Depth [2]  30 inches (76 cm)
Seed Spread Rate [2]  Slow
Seed Vigor [2]  Low
Seeds Per [2]  28430 / lb (62677 / kg)
Shape/Orientation [2]  Erect
Specific Gravity [5]  0.57
Structure [3]  Shrub
Usage [3]  A number of cultivars of this species are used for hedging; Fairly wind-resistant, this species is also used in shelterbelt plantings; A dye has been made from the berries - the colour is not given; Wood - light, tough, not strong, close grained, highly shock resistant, easily worked; A strikingly white wood, it is valued for use in veneers and inlay; It weighs 36lb per cubic foot; Too small for commercial exploitation, but it is valued for use in cabinet making and the interior finishes of houses; The wood can also be stained to imitate ebony;
Vegetative Spread Rate [2]  None
View Plants For A Future Record : Ilex opaca

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Assateague Island National Seashore II 8621 Maryland, United States
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area National Recreation Area V 120283 Kentucky, Tennessee, United States
Blue Ridge Parkway National Parkway V 73611 North Carolina, Virginia, United States
Cape Lookout National Seashore II 18379 North Carolina, United States
Carolinian-South Atlantic Biosphere Reserve 310228 North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, United States      
Central Gulf Coastal Plain Biosphere Reserve 40530 United States  
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Hist. Park National Historical Park V 19586 Maryland, District of Columbia, United States
Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nat'l Military Park National Military Park V 8248 Georgia, Tennessee, United States
Colonial National Historic Park National Historical Park V 9316 Virginia, United States
Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory LTER Site Long Term Ecological Research   North Carolina, United States
Cumberland Gap National Hist. Park National Historical Park V 24282 Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, United States
Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge VI 66133 Arkansas, United States
Fire Island National Seashore V 9433 New York, United States
Fort Caroline National Memorial III 137 Florida, United States
Fort Donelson National Battlefield III 560 Tennessee, United States
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Nat'l Military Park National Military Park V 10384 Virginia, United States
Gateway National Recreation Area V 1807 New Jersey, United States
Gauley River National Recreation Area V 10157 West Virginia, United States
George Washington Birthplace National Monument V 435 Virginia, United States
George Washington Memorial Parkway V   Virginia, United States
Gettysburg National Military Park V 3560 Pennsylvania, United States
Great Smoky Mountains National Park II 515454 North Carolina, Tennessee, United States
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge VI 3161 New Jersey, United States
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park VI 715 West Virginia, United States
Hobcaw Barony (North Inlet) National Estuarine Research Reserve 7585 South Carolina, United States
Horseshoe Bend National Military Park V 1926 Alabama, United States
Little River National Wildlife Refuge   Oklahoma, United States
Little St. Simons Island   Georgia, United States
Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Reserve (Natn'l Park) National Park II 51235 Kentucky, United States
Manassas National Battlefield Park III 5132 Virginia, United States
Moores Creek National Battlefield III 100 North Carolina, United States
Morristown National Historical Park VI 1677 New Jersey, United States
National Capital Parks - Central National Park   District of Columbia, United States
National Capital Region - East National Park   District of Columbia, United States
New Jersey Pinelands Biosphere Reserve   New Jersey, United States  
New River Gorge National River National River and Wild and Scenic Riverway V 55591 West Virginia, United States
Obed Wild and Scenic River National River and Wild and Scenic Riverway V 5268 Tennessee, United States
Ocmulgee National Monument V 693 Georgia, United States
Oconee National Forest Botanical Reserve 306 Georgia, United States  
Petersburg National Battlefield III 3338 Virginia, United States
Prince William Forest Park 19378 District of Columbia, United States
Richmond National Battlefield Park III 1517 Virginia, United States
Rock Creek Park   District of Columbia, United States
Santee Coastal Reserve and Washo Reserve State Habitat Area IV 20850 South Carolina, United States  
Shenandoah National Park II 108221 Virginia, United States
Shiloh National Military Park III 4061 Tennessee, United States
South Atlantic Coastal Plain Biosphere Reserve 20317 South Carolina, United States  
Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve 37548505 North Carolina, Tennessee, United States  
Tennessee River Gorge   Tennessee, United States
Valley Forge National Historical Park VI 3509 Pennsylvania, United States


Emblem of



Acutaspis perseae (red bay scale)[6]
Aonidiella aurantii (California red scale)[7]
Apis mellifera (honey bee)[8]
Bombus fervidus (Golden northern bumble bee)[8]
Celastrina argiolus (Holly Blue Butterfly)[9]
Ceroplastes ceriferus (Indian wax scale)[7]
Colinus virginianus (Northern Bobwhite)[8]
Diaspidiotus ancylus (Howard scale)[7]
Diaspidiotus forbesi (cherry scale)[7]
Dryocopus pileatus (Pileated Woodpecker)[8]
Incisalia henrici (Henry's Elfin)[10]
Meleagris gallopavo (Wild Turkey)[8]
Metaxaglaea violacea[10]
Microtus pennsylvanicus (meadow vole)[8]
Neopinnaspis harperi (Harper scale)[7]
Niveaspis ilicis[7]
Odocoileus virginianus (white-tailed deer)[8]
Peromyscus leucopus (white-footed mouse)[8]
Procyon lotor (Raccoon)[8]
Pseudaulacaspis pentagona (mulberry scale)[7]
Pulvinaria acantholimoni <Unverified Name>[7]
Rhizoecus floridanus (florida ground mealybug)[7]
Samia walkeri[10]
Schizura unicornis (unicorn caterpillar)[10]
Sciurus carolinensis (eastern gray squirrel)[8]
Sialia sialis (Eastern Bluebird)[8]
Spinus tristis (American Goldfinch)[8]
Sylvilagus floridanus (Eastern Cottontail)[8]
Tamias striatus (eastern chipmunk)[8]
Terrapene carolina (Florida Box Turtle)[8]
Turdus migratorius (American Robin)[9]
Vespula maculifrons (eastern yellowjacket)[8]
Vulpes vulpes (Red Fox)[8]
Cardinalis cardinalis (Northern Cardinal)[8]
Lepidosaphes ulmi (apple oystershell scale)[8]
Mimus polyglottos (Northern Mockingbird)[8]


Pollinated by 
Apis mellifera (honey bee)[8]
Bombus fervidus (Golden northern bumble bee)[8]
Vespula maculifrons (eastern yellowjacket)[8]


Parasitized by 
Lepidosaphes ulmi[8]
Shelter for 
Quiscalus quiscula (Common Grackle)[8]
Turdus migratorius[8]
Zenaida macroura (Mourning Dove)[8]
Zonotrichia albicollis (White-throated Sparrow)[8]
Cardinalis cardinalis (Northern Cardinal)[8]
Lepidosaphes ulmi (apple oystershell scale)[8]
Mimus polyglottos (Northern Mockingbird)[8]

Range Map

North America;



Attributes / relations provided by
1i-Tree Species v. 4.0, developed by the USDA Forest Service's Northern Research Station and SUNY-ESF using the Horticopia, Inc. plant database.
2USDA Plants Database, U. S. Department of Agriculture
3Plants For A Future licensed under a Creative Commons License
4Wood Janka Hardness Scale/Chart J W Morlan's Unique Wood Gifts
5Forest Inventory and Analysis DB version 5.1, May 4, 2013, U.S. Forest Service
6Biological Records Centre Database of Insects and their Food Plants
7Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D.R. & Gibson, G.A.P. ScaleNet 4 November 2009
8Study of Northern Virginia Ecology
9Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
10HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants Gaden S. Robinson, Phillip R. Ackery, Ian J. Kitching, George W. Beccaloni AND Luis M. Hernández
Images provided by Google Image Search
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access