Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Plantae>Magnoliophyta>Magnoliopsida>Celastrales>Aquifoliaceae>Ilex montana Torrey & Gray ex Gray

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Mountain Holly is large shrub or small tree common in in deciduous forest understories in the Mountains and upper Piedmont of North Carolina.

Surry Co., NC 5/15/10.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Mountain Holly's deciduous leaves are larger than the other hollies in its range, such as Winterberry (Ilex verticillata). A similar species in the lower Piedmont and Coastal Plain is Carolina Holly (Ilex ambigua), but this has less toothed leaves, which are rounded at the tip instead of long-tapered, and smaller fruits.

Surry Co., NC 5/15/10.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana) female flowers

Pistillate (female) flowers.

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana) male flowers

Staminate (male) flowers.

Carroll Co., VA 5/22/2011.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Orange Co., NC 10/17/2010.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Orange Co., NC 10/17/2010.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Orange Co., NC 10/17/2010.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

The leaf undersides are usually smooth and somewhat shiny, with prominent veins.

Surry Co., NC 5/15/10.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana) leaves

This Mountain Holly has unusual leaves — white hairy beneath. This tree was growing on a ridge at Pilot Mountain adjacent to the smooth-leaved tree photographed above.

Surry Co., NC 5/15/10.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana) leaf

Surry Co., NC 5/15/10.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Flowers are tiny and white. These are staminate (male) flowers.

Surry Co., NC 5/15/10.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana) flowers

Pilot Mountain, Surry Co., NC 5/15/10.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana) flowers

Staminate flowers.

Surry Co., NC 5/15/10.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Buncombe Co., NC 7/8/06.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Buncombe Co., NC 7/8/06.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

The leaves are borne on short spur branches.

Buncombe Co., NC 7/8/06.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Carroll Co., VA 10/16/05.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

The drupes are bright red and last through the winter, giving it another common name: Mountain Winterberry.

Carroll Co., VA 10/16/05.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Bark of a small trunk.

Carroll Co., VA 10/16/05.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Bark of a large trunk, with lichens.

Carroll Co., VA 10/16/05.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Bark of a larger tree.

Buncombe Co., NC 7/8/06.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana) bark

Pilot Mountain, Surry Co., NC 5/15/10.

Mountain Holly (Ilex montana)

Orange Co., NC 10/17/2010.

More information:
Virginia Tech Dendrology

Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of North Carolina

cwcook@duke.edu

All photographs and text ©2012 by Will Cook unless otherwise indicated.