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Dwarf Yaupon Holly Ilex vomitoria 'Nana'

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
EYE-leks vom-mit-TOR-ee-uh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

'Nana' is a dwarf cultivar of I. vomitoria in the Aquifoliaceae (holly) family.   I. vomitoria  is a species of evergreen shrubs or small trees native to the eastern United States and often found native in North Carolina.  The genus name Ilex is in reference to the similarity of the evergreen leaves to Quercus ilex or holm oak.  The leaves of the parent plant were used for ceremonial tea, which, when consumed in large quantities, caused a cleansing now memorialized by the specific epithet vomitoria.  The 'Nana' cultivar, or dwarf yaupon, is a dense, compact, rounded shrub that grows up to 5' tall, unlike its parent which can reach 20 feet in height.

Dwarf yaupon has brittle, close-knit branches and dark green leaves (1/2 to 1 1/2 inches long) that are yellow-green when new. If pollinated, the small greenish white flowers on female shrubs will mature into persistent red drupes, although they are not as common or as striking as those of the parent species. Plants of this species are dioecious (separate male and female plants) and female plants need a male pollinator in the area in order to bear fruit.

Plant in average well-drained soils in sun to shade, though it will produce more fruit with more sun.  This shrub grows rapidly,  is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, can withstand heavy pruning, and resistant to phytophthora root rot. Drought and salt spray tolerant, this plant tolerates wet soil, is easily transplanted, and has no known pest problems.

Dwarf yaupon blooms in early to mid-spring and the fruits are usually hidden by the close-knit branches. The dwarf yaupon holly spreads wider than it is tall and can be used for topiary and in formal plantings. Leaves are not concolorous and tend to be much darker on top than beneath. 

The dense evergreen leaves make it a good choice for a screen, windbreak, or security plant.

Fire Risk: This plant has a high flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home. Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No insect or disease problems when planted in their native habitat.  Holly leaf miner, spider mites, aphids, whitefly, and scale are occasional problems. Leaf spot, leaf rot, tar spot, and powdery mildew are potential disease problems.

VIDEO: Part of a series of Native Plant Picks from the North Carolina Sea Grant Coastal Landscapes Initiative.

More information on Ilex vomitoria.

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Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#nectar plant#native shrub#salt tolerant#cover plant#accent plant#topiary#showy fruits#specialized bees#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#pest resistant#transplant#children's garden#red fruits#playground plant#edible fruits#poolside planting#screening#pollinator plant#fantz#evergreen shrub#border middle#compact habit#patio planting#bird friendly#bee friendly#dense growth#barrier
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#nectar plant#native shrub#salt tolerant#cover plant#accent plant#topiary#showy fruits#specialized bees#highly beneficial coastal plants#cpp#pest resistant#transplant#children's garden#red fruits#playground plant#edible fruits#poolside planting#screening#pollinator plant#fantz#evergreen shrub#border middle#compact habit#patio planting#bird friendly#bee friendly#dense growth#barrier
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ilex
    Species:
    vomitoria
    Family:
    Aquifoliaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The wood from this plant was used by Native Americans to make arrows. The leaves were used for ceremonial tea, which, when consumed in large quantities, caused a cleansing now memorialized by the specific epithet. Also contains caffeine.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern United States and Mexico.
    Distribution:
    Southern United States from Virginia south to Florida and west to Texas.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    high flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are attractive and food source to birds and small animals. Flowers attract bees. Members of the genus Ilex support the following specialized bee: Colletes banksi. Leaves provide food source for deer.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Phytophthora root rot. Drought and salt spray tolerant, deer resistant.
    Edibility:
    Use caution. The young leaves may be picked, browned and dried in an oven, steeped in hot water and used to make Yaupon tea. It contains caffeine. In quantities, can be mildly toxic.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • 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
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    If pollinated, the flowers on female shrubs will mature into persistent red globose berry drupes, although they are not as common or as striking as those of the species and are less than an inch wide. Berries that usually persist to spring.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Insignificant
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Produces small, greenish-white flowers in spring that are solitary or in pairs and are clustered on peduncles in leaf axils.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, glossy dark green leaves that are 1/2"-1 1/2" long. New growth has a yellow-green tinge. Leaves are oval to ovate and are shallowly toothes around the margin to the base. Leaves are light green on the bottom. Leaves have no black glands beneath them.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Thin, smooth and light gray to almost white. As the tree ages, the bark might become a bit scaly.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Very young stems are purplish in color and turn silvery-gray as they age.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Pond
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Border
    Screen/Privacy
    Security
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Insect Pests
    Salt
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea when consumed in quantity.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Saponins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits