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Native Plants Series: American Holly

If you are looking for a native evergreen tree, this is it! The American holly (Ilex opaca) is native to the mid-Atlantic and southeastern US. It grows up to 30' tall and 20' wide in a pyramid shape. You can plant this guy in full sun to part shade in a consistently moist but well-drained site.

You can use the foliage and red berries of the American holly for holiday decorations. You will need to have both a male and a female plant for berry formation. This tree would make a great hedge or evergreen screen. The leaves are spiney - for me this is a no-go in the garden as I tend to find myself barefoot quite often. Keep this in mind for plant placement - you will want to keep those spines away from high-traffic areas. In SC PA hollies are a host plant for at least 44 species of moth and butterfly caterpillars. They also provide food for birds in the fall and winter. Sources: USDA, Missouri Botanical Garden, National Wildlife Federation #ilexopaca #holly #americanholly

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