Mountain Holly (Ilex montana) in the Ilex Database

Botanical names:
Ilex montana Accepted
Ilex ambigua var. monticola Synonym
Ilex ambigua var. montana Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 7b
Plant Height: 15 to 40 feet
Plant Spread: 10 to 30 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: White
Pollinators: Various insects
Miscellaneous: Dioecious

photo credit: Richtid

Photo gallery:

Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 4, 2019 12:26 PM

I've only seen this species, that is not common and well-known, once, and that was in the Appalachian Collection at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. It was a young specimen, not mature. It is native to well-dained wooded slopes from southeast Massachusetts & New York to Tennessee, north Georgia, and northeast Alabama, all in the Appalachian chain. The leaves are 2.5 to 6 inches long that is larger than other deciduous hollies. The tiny white flowers appear in late spring. The female plants bear small red fruits about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter that are not heavily borne, but with enough light for producing a good crop, they look good and show up, in late summer into the fall. Most report that the fruit does not hold for long, probably eaten by birds, but a few report fruit lasting into winter. The bark is smooth and gray to purplish-gray to gray-brown. It ranges from a medium sized tree to a usually small shrubby tree to a large shrub. It is very similar to the Sand Holly (Ilex ambigua) that inhabits the southeast coastal plain.

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