American holly

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American holly Ilex opaca
American holly Ilex opaca


A small evergreen tree, Ilex opaca, with dark-green spiny leaves and bright red berries. The American holly is native to the eastern United States. Holly timber is a creamy white color heartwood with a greenish-gray cast. It has a fine texture with an irregular grain pattern. Holly has been used as a substitute for Boxwood and, when dyed black, for Ebony. It has been used for sculpture, carvings, small articles, musical instruments, piano keys, Veneer, and Marquetry.

White holly (Ilex opaca)

Synonyms and Related Terms

American holly (Ilex opaca )

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Tree height = 10-15 m
  • Bark = smooth, light gray.
  • Berry = red ( 0.5 cm in diameter)
  • Specific gravity of wood = 0.8
  • Density = 50 ppcf

Resources and Citations

  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Edward Reich, Carlton J. Siegler, Consumer Goods: How to Know and Use Them, American Book Company, New York City, 1937
  • Virginia Tech Dencrology website at (accessed Oct. 3, 2005)
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Gordon Hanlon, contributed information, 1998