Ilex opaca var. arenicola

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Scrub Holly


Plant Specifics

Size:12-20 ft
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White
Fruit Color:Red
Phenology:Evergreen. Blooms in spring. Fruits ripen in fall and persist into winter.
Noted for:Showy fruits, Interesting foliage, Thorns


Recommended Uses:Specimen plant. Slow growing.
Considerations:Leaves have sharp spines. It's dioecious; so make sure you have at least one male plant in the vicinity to produce berries on the females.
Propagation:Can be propagated from seed, but slow to germinate.
Availability:Native nurseries
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Not wet but not extremely dry ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Not wet but not extremely dry ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray
Soil or other substrate:Sand
Soil pH:Acidic



Fruits principally eaten by birds.


Pollinated by bees.  Documented bee species include Augochloropsis sumptuosa, Megachilepetulans and Xylocopa virginica krombeini (Deyrup et al. 2002). 

Native Habitats:Scrub.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:The wood is pale, tough, close-grained, takes a good polish, and is used for handles, engraving blocks, and cabinet work. It can also be dyed and used as a substitute for ebony.