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Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Magnoliophyta
Classis: Magnoliopsida
Ordo: Aquifoliales
Familia: Aquifoliaceae
Genus: Ilex
Species: Ilex decidua


Ilex decidua Walter

Vernacular names

* en: Possum-Haw Holly or Deciduous Holly


Flora Caroliniana, secundum . . . 241. 1788


Ilex decidua (Meadow Holly, also called "possumhaw", "deciduous holly" or "swamp holly") is a species of holly native to the United States.

Leaves of Ilex decidua

Distinguishing features of this species are crenate leaf margins and fruiting pedicels that are 2–8 mm long.[1] Its "distinctive leaf shape... is less variable than other species of holly".[2] Leaves are obovate,[3] simple, alternating, deciduous, and grow to 2.5-7.5 cm long.[2]

Drupe fruits are red (or rarely yellow), shiny, and globose (spherical, or nearly so), with a diameter of 4-8 mm.[1][2] The pulp is bitter; they contain 3-5 seeds and mature in autumn.[2]

Slender twigs are glabrous and silvery gray, with "numerous spur shoots", pointed lateral buds, and acuminate scales.[2]

Bark is "light brown to gray" in color and may be smooth or "warty and roughened".[2]

Distribution and ecology

Ilex decidua is a common plant,[1] growing in the US in Alabama, Arkansas, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.[4]

It grows in the northern Mexico states of Chihuahua and Coahuila.[5]

It prefers land in floodplains and the margins of swamps or lakes, and grows at elevations up to about 360 m.[1][2] Other plant species with which possumhaw is associated include water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), overcup oak (Quercus lyrata), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and hackberry (Celtis spp.).[6]

The fruits attact songbirds.[3] Deer browse on young twigs.[2]

Human use

Because of the attractive "berries", the tree is used as a winter ornamental plant, and branches are collected for use as Christmas decorations.[2] The wood is not useful commercially because of the tree's small size.[2]


1. ^ a b c d Duncan, Wilbur H. and Marion B. Duncan (1988). Trees of the Southeastern United States. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press. pp. 304–305. ISBN 0820314692.
2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Brown, Claud L.; L. Katherine Kirkman (1990). Trees of Georgia and Adjacent States. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. pp. 178–179. ISBN 0881921483.
3. ^ a b "NPIN: Ilex decidua (Possumhaw)". http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ILDE. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
4. ^ "PLANTS Profile for Ilex decidua (possumhaw)". Natural Resources Conservation Service. United States Department of Agriculture. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ILDE. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
5. ^ "Ilex decidua information from NPGS/GRIN". Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program, National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?19700. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
6. ^ "FDEP Featured Plant: Florida Hollies". Florida Department of Environmental Protection. http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wetlands/delineation/featuredplants/ilex.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-14.

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License