Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

AQUIFOLIACEAE

HOLLY FAMILY

Elizabeth McClintock

Shrub, tree, evergreen or deciduous, dioecious or nearly so
Leaves generally alternate, simple, often spiny, toothed, or lobed
Inflorescence: generally cyme, generally axillary
Flower generally unisexual, radial, small; sepals generally 4, generally fused at base; petals 4, fused at base or free, white or green; stamens generally 4, generally alternate petals; ovary superior, chambers often 4, generally 1-ovuled, style terminal, 0 or short, stigma head-like or lobed
Fruit: drupe, generally red (purple to black or yellow to whitish); stones often 4
Seeds often 4
Genera in family: 4 genera, 300–400 species: tropical, temp
Reference: [Brizicky 1964 J Arnold Arbor 45:227–234]

ILEX

HOLLY


Leaves entire, spiny, or toothed, petioled; upper surface generally shiny
Flower: sepals persistent in fruit; petals oblong or obovate, fused at base
Fruit round, pulpy; stones 4, walls hard
Seed 1 per stone
Species in genus: 300–400 species: especially tropical
Etymology: (Latin: name for Medit holly-oak, Quercus ilex L.)

Introduced

I. aquifolium L.

ENGLISH HOLLY

Shrub, small tree, evergreen, generally dioecious
Stem erect; branches many; branchlets minute-hairy
Leaves 2.5–6 cm, ovate or oblong-ovate, entire to lobed (on 1 plant), often with widely spaced, stiff, spine-like teeth
Flower: petals dull white
Fruit ± 7–8 mm wide, generally red, smooth
Ecology: Cool, wooded areas
Elevation: < 200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Outer North Coast Ranges, San Francisco Bay Area, expected elsewhere
Distribution outside California: native to Europe, w Asia
Cult since ancient time for showy fruit.

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