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.
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.
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.
It is treated by some botanists as a variety of the related Ilex ambigua (Sand Holly), as I. ambigua var. monticola; 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.
- USDA: Ilex montana
- Tree Trail article on Ilex montana
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Ilex montana
- Krakow, G. (1989). Key to Ilex (page 152), in Leonard E. Foote & Samuel B. Jones Native Shrubs and Woody Vines of the Southeast.
- Keeler, H. L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 45.
- Institute for Systematic Botany (Florida): Ilex ambigua var. montana
- Archibald William Smith A Gardener's Handbook of Plant Names: Their Meanings and Origins, p. 239, at Google Books
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