Our species bear conspicuous red fruit on axillary pedicels. Since these species are dioecious (flowers rarely with rudiments of the opposite sex), fruit will be found only on female plants. Our native hollies are deciduous, but evergreen species of Ilex are familiar Christmas decoration; the traditional holiday colors reflect the red fruit and green leaves.
1. Leaves spiny-margined, evergreen.
1. Leaves soft-toothed or entire, deciduous.
2. Pedicels several times as long as the petals, mostly twice as long as the fruit, or longer; petals yellowish, linear, separate, the flowers opening in May (or June near Lake Superior); leaves entire (very rarely with a few sharp teeth).
2. Pedicels ca. twice as long as the petals, shorter than the fruit; petals white, broadly oblong-elliptic (less than twice as long as wide), connate at the base, the flowers opening in July (or June in southern Michigan); leaves with close, sharp teeth.
All species found in Ilex
MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. October 20, 2021. https://michiganflora.net/genus.aspx?id=Ilex.