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Ilex amelanchier

Ilex amelanchier M.A. Curtis ex Chapm.

Sarvis Holly, Swamp Holly

Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family)


USDA Symbol: ILAM2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Shrubs or rarely trees to 15 ft., or more, in height with pubescent, leathery leaves. Greenish-white, axillary flowers are followed by velvet-red, pea-sized, persistent fruits.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 30 feet tall, usually much shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Although technically drupes, the fruit is commonly referred to as berries.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AL , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from NC to LA
Native Habitat: Sandy swamps; wet woods; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist to wet, sandy to clay soils.
Conditions Comments: 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.


Description: Seeds germinate best if planted immediately after collection. They may be pretreated with double-stratification but the essential element seems to be time. Once internal conditions in the seed are right (it may take years), it will germinate in warm, mo
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

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: OBL OBL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-06-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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