Plant DetailShow Menu

Inkberry Holly Ilex coriacea

Phonetic Spelling
EYE-leks kor-ee-ay-SEE-ah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Tall Gallberry is an evergreen large shrub or small tree in the holly family that is found along the coastal plain from Virginia to Florida and west to Texas. In the wild, it is typically found in low wet areas such as swamps, bays, river floodplains, and sandy woods. It can reach heights of 20' with a very open crown. It is dioecious meaning each shrub possesses either male or female flowers, and a male and female plant of the same species that bloom at the same time is needed for fruit production.

This plant prefers moist to wet sandy soils in partial or full sun. In the landscape, it can be used along streams or ponds, in naturalized areas, around bogs and moist woodlands, or planted en mass to form a thicket. The flowers bloom on new growth and are a good nectar source used by beekeepers for making honey. The berries are eaten by birds and small mammals but, unlike most Ilex species, the fruit drop soon after maturing. Tall Gallberry does not tolerate root disturbance, especially when mature, so it is best to place the plant in its permanent location. However, the plant is very tolerant of pruning and can be cut right back to old wood if required.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect issues.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#native shrub#NC native#large shrub#glossy leaves#red fruits#prickly#Braham Arboretum#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#food source soft mast fruit#Audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#native shrub#NC native#large shrub#glossy leaves#red fruits#prickly#Braham Arboretum#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#food source soft mast fruit#Audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ilex
    Species:
    coriacea
    Family:
    Aquifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern North America
    Distribution:
    Virginia to Florida and west to Texas.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Good source of nectar for bees. Drupes attract birds and small mammals.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Use caution. Human consumption of berries can cause minor toxic reaction.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small, nearly black, shiny, berry-like ⅓ inch drupe displays from September to October. Drops soon after maturing. The fruits are normally broader than they are long.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Dioecious small greenish-white flowers in axillary clusters, bloom from April to May
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Prickly
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, irregularly serrated or spine-tipped. 1 1/2 to 3 inches long, oblong, oval to obovate leathery shiny dark green above and lighter dull underneath with a few hairs. Pointed or rounded at the tip, tapering to the base.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Smooth greyish brown mottled bark with scattered lenticels .
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Minor toxicity. Ingestion may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or other illness in humans.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Saponins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits