Ilex vomitoria

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Yaupon Holly


Plant Specifics

Size:8-25 ft tall by 5-8 ft wide, clonal.
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 flowers, Showy fruits, Interesting foliage, Hurricane wind resistance


Recommended Uses:Specimen tree.
Considerations:Tends to produce suckers, which can be removed if you wish to have a specimen tree. It's dioecious; so make sure you have at least one male plant in the vicinity to produce berries on the females.
Propagation:Naturally clonal, so can transplant from from stem cuttings. Seeds of most holly species require 2-3 years of dormancy before they will germinate.
Availability:Big box stores, Friends, Native nurseries, Quality nurseries, Seed
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Tolerant of inundation with brackish water
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Moderate. Tolerant of salty wind and may get some salt spray. Exposure to salt spray would be uncommon (major storms).
Soil or other substrate:Sand
Soil pH:Adaptable



Fruits are eaten by birds.


Bees pollinate flowers. 

Native Habitats:Coastal scrub, coastal dunes, coastal flatwoods, river swamps, scrub, secondary woods, pine-oak-hickory woods.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:Despite its scientific name, yaupon holly makes a good tea that is commercially available.  This tea has substantial caffeine content.
General Comments:Many cultivars have been developed or found in the wild ranging from weeping forms to little round balls ('Shillings').

To get fruits, both a male and a female are required. Although there are issues with provenance, 'Shillings' is a male and can provide an inconspicuous source of pollen for larger females. The issue (with no scientifically vetted answer) is whether pollen from a natural dwarf could have any affect on wild populations of yaupon holly (the author suspects 'no' as being dwarf is unlikely to provide any selective advantage in the wild.