Ilex montana

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Ilex montana
Ilex montana.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Aquifoliales
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Genus: Ilex
I. montana
Binomial name
Ilex montana
Ilex montana range map.jpg
Natural range

Ilex montana, the mountain winterberry (or "mountain holly" which is more typically Ilex mucronata), is a species of holly native to the Eastern United States, ranging along the Appalachian Mountains from southeast Massachusetts to northeast Alabama and northern Georgia. Synonyms include Ilex monticola.[1]


Ilex montana is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 9–12 metres (30–39 ft) tall. The leaves are 3–9 cm long and 2–5 cm broad, light green, ovate or oblong, wedge-shaped or rounded at the base and acute at apex, with a serrated margin and an acuminate apex; they do not suggest the popular idea of a holly, with no spines or bristles. The leaves turn yellow before dropping in late autumn.[2]

The flowers are 4–5 mm diameter, with a four-lobed white corolla, appearing in late spring when the leaves are more than half grown. The fruit is a spherical bright red drupe 8–10 mm diameter, containing four seeds.[3][4][5]


It is treated by some botanists as a variety of the related Ilex ambigua (Sand Holly), as I. ambigua var. monticola;[6] the two are sometimes mistaken for each other in the U.S. southeastern coastal plain. The Latin specific epithet montana refers to mountains or coming from mountains.[7]


  1. ^ USDA: Ilex montana
  2. ^ Tree Trail article on Ilex montana
  3. ^ Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Ilex montana
  4. ^ Krakow, G. (1989). Key to Ilex (page 152), in Leonard E. Foote & Samuel B. Jones Native Shrubs and Woody Vines of the Southeast.
  5. ^ Keeler, H. L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 45.
  6. ^ Institute for Systematic Botany (Florida): Ilex ambigua var. montana
  7. ^ Archibald William Smith A Gardener's Handbook of Plant Names: Their Meanings and Origins, p. 239, at Google Books

External links[edit]