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Ilex glabra (Inkberry) | NPIN
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Ilex glabra (Inkberry)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Ilex glabra

Ilex glabra (L.) A. Gray

Inkberry, Gallberry

Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: ilgl

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A mound-shaped, colony-forming shrub, somewhat open with age, 6-12 ft. tall and wide. Lance-shaped, sparingly-toothed, glossy, leathery foliage varies in color from dark- to light-green both in summer and fall. Inconspicuous flowers are followed by black berries which persist well into winter.

The Gallberry is a member of the holly family (family Aquifoliaceae) which includes shrubs and trees, small to medium-sized, rarely large; 300-350 species, nearly all in the holly genus (Ilex) in tropical and temperate regions, especially tropical America; 14 native tree and 2 native shrub species in North America. Leaves: alternate, simple, generally leathery and evergreen, sometimes with tiny stipules. Flowers: small, few clustered along twigs, whitish or greenish, regular, generally male and female on separate plants or bisexual; calyx with 4 (sometimes 5) tiny sepals or teeth; 4 (5) rounded whitish petals sometimes united at base, 4 (5) alternate stamens inserted at base of corolla, without disk, and 1 pistil with superior ovary of 4 (3-5) cells of 1-2 ovules each, usually without style, and 3-5 stalkless stigmas. Fruit: a round drupe or berry, red, black, or yellow, with stalkless stigmas, bitter pulp, and 3-5 nutlets.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Black
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , LA , MA , MD , ME , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , PA , RI , SC , TX , VA
Canada: NS
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from N.S. to FL, w. to LA
Native Habitat: Bogs; wet woods of coastal plains

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy to peaty, acid soil.
Conditions Comments: Flood tolerant. You must have both a male and female plant to have berries. The male must be the same species as the female and bloom at the same time. Because hollies are such popular landscape plants, it may be worth the risk to plant a female and hope there is a male nearby. Withstands heavy pruning and renewal of old plants is suggested. Pest free. Considered weedy in some areas.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: High.
Warning: All Ilex species may be somewhat toxic if ingested. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Honey Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Propagation

Description: Ilex seeds exhibit a dormancy. Patience is probably more important than cold treatment for germination. Cuttings root about any time of year.
Seed Collection: Collect fruit in fall. Crush pulp and wash away. Seeds which float should be throw away as they are not viable.
Seed Treatment: Some benefit may be obtained from 30-60 days treatment at 68-86 degrees followed by 60-90 days of 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

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I need evergreen screening shrubs that aren't too deep. The shrubs are to be planted along an existing wrought iron fence, which is a few feet behind a children's swing set.
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From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1992 VOL. 9, NO.1 - Research Update, Creating Native Lawn with Sod, Director's Report, What Makes Pl...
Wildflower Newsletter 1998 VOL. 15, NO.5 - Native Shrubs Providing Landscape Heritage and Habitat, Executive Director\'s Re...

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Ilex glabra in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ilex glabra in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ilex glabra

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-09-08
Research By: TWC Staff

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