Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria) in the Ilex Database

Common names:
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 7a -17.8 °C (0 °F) to -15 °C (5 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 20 - 25 feet
Leaves: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: White
Flower Time: Spring
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Toxicity: Fruit is poisonous
Other: Berries contain toxins, if ingested by humans or animals can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Cuttings: Tip
Pollinators: Bees
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth


Celebrating Winter Interest!Celebrating Winter Interest!
February 14, 2015

Pine cones, seed heads, winter bloomers, colorful red berries, and much more! Let's kick off Winter Interest Week with a look at the most popular plants in our database that give some kind of interest to our gardens in the winter. We also introduce a new gallery option in our database for winter interest, with bonus acorns this week!

(Full article9 comments)
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Posted by plantladylin (Sebastian, Florida - Zone 10a) on Dec 17, 2011 12:39 PM

Yaupon Holly is native to the coastal plains of the Southeastern USA. A popular residential landscape tree, this holly is an evergreen shrub to small tree that can attain heights to 25'. It has stiff, dense branches and small, glossy green elliptical shaped leaves. This shrub bears small white flowers during the spring months and the beautiful red berries appear from fall and throughout the winter. The leaves contain caffeine and although I've never tried it the young leaves can be steeped/brewed to make Yaupon tea, which is said to be quite delicious.

Birds enjoy the berries of the Yaupon Holly but these fruits are toxic to mammals. The berries contain Saponins which can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jun 7, 2019 9:30 AM

Yaupon Holly usually is a small tree but can be a large shrub, that can ground sucker to form a thickets. It grows medium to fast of 1 to 3 feet/year. Its native range is from southeast Virginia to central Florida along the Atlantic coastal plain and west to eastern Texas along the Gulf plain, plus southeast Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, growing in both very dry to very wet acid soils. The evergreen leaves are 1/2 to 1.5 inches long and to 3/4 inches wide with rounded, shallowly toothed margins. The small flowers have 4 white petals in auxillary clusters on year old wood; the male flowers are numerous together while the female flowers are solitary or in pairs, plus having a green pistil in the center, and bloom in April. The translucent scarlet drupes (berries) are borne in big quantities and last from late summer to early spring. The species scientific name of "vomitoria" comes from the use of the leaves used to brew a tea by Native Americans that after drinking would induce vomiting to purge the digestive system. There is a good number of cultivars and this species is used commonly in southern landscapes.

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Posted by Horntoad (Nederland, Texas - Zone 9a) on Apr 16, 2012 3:33 PM

Yaupon Holly is a dioecious plant, meaning individual plants are either male or female. Only the female plant will have berries.

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SteveandJeannie On October 12, 2015 Potted up
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