American Holly Ilex opaca as Plants of CARE is recognized for its eco sustainable characteristics and ability to connect people to the living green that surrounds them. American Holly, a small tree or large shrub, can grow up to 60 feet tall. It is identified to grow from Massachusetts to Florida, west to Texas and Missouri, and has adapted to a wide range of site conditions. Sometimes, this tree becomes scarce in areas where people collect too much of it for decorations.
American Holly is a good food source for many animals including: Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, Mourning Dove, Cedar Waxwing, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, other songbirds, Eastern Gray Squirrel, White-tailed Deer, Eastern Chipmunk, Meadow Vole, White-footed Mouse, Red Fox, Raccoon, Eastern Cottontail, and Eastern Box Turtle. The relationship of these animals is important because it is how seeds get spread to grow new trees. American Holly also depends on insects, such as bees, wasps, and moths to pollinate its flowers. And, in fact, this tree is a good nest site for many bird species.
American Holly leaves are dark green, tough, and leathery. Sometimes they are very shiny. Underneath, they are yellowish-green. Holly leaves have several "prickles" on the edges. The flowers of American Holly are small and white. They usually bloom from April to June. Fruits of this tree are called drupes. The drupes are green and berry-like, turning to bright red. Drupes grow from September to November and stay on the tree through the winter. American Holly has light gray bark and brown or gray twigs.
This tree tolerates shade well and is often an understory tree (grows in forests under larger trees). Some other plants that often grow with American Holly include: oaks, hickories, pines, Sweetgum, Sassafras, Flowering Dogwood, Yellow Poplar, Eastern Redcedar, American Beech, American Sycamore, and Red Maple.
To install in your landscape, utilize standard tree and shrub planting procedures to establish containerized or balled and burlapped plants. Bare rooted transplants usually have marginal success. When establishing American holly, it is important to plant males as well as females if berry production is desired. In a nursery situation the gender ratio should be 1:10, males to females. Establish American holly only where surrounding vegetation or physical barriers protect the plants from harsh winds. Numerous nation-wide university research is available; and in fact, an excellent resource is USDA data.
Relationship to Humans:
American Holly wood is used by people to make handles, rulers, piano keys, and violin pegs. Its leaves, twigs, and drupes are often used as Christmas decorations. American Holly is also planted as a landscape plant and hedge. These plants are excellent wildlife attractors. American Holly is also used for its nectar to make honey. Sometimes this tree becomes scarce in areas where people collect too much of it for decorations. Nevertheless, regardless of its attraction to humans, all should be aware American Holly drupes can be poisonous to humans, especially young children.
In addition to its sustainability, what makes the American Holly Ilex opaca different? These plants are identified to flourish in multiple climate zones, recognized as enabling eco sustainable habitats; and through their vibrant characteristics, have intrigued mankind for centuries. American Holly Ilex opaca is spotlighted as ‘Plants of CARE’ challenging all to select and install plants which enable eco prosperity. For, prosperity is a spiritual matter, an ongoing faith – not cash – which creates a sense of earthy friendly abundance. For details of other identified Plants of CARE link to blog http://blog.thewrightscoop.com/2013/04/23/plants-of-care-.aspx .