American Holly

Ilex opaca
(Holly, White Holly)


The pyramid-shaped evergreen with the spiny leaves is the American holly. Only the female trees have the red berries which mature in autumn and remain through the winter as food for wildlife. A Christian legend tells that the very beautiful ivory-like white wood from the holly was used to make the cross for Jesus. The tree was so distressed to be used this way that it cried blood red tears which became the red holly berries.