Hollies - Mountain (Largeleaf) Holly - Ilex
montana, Long-staked Holly - I. collina,
Mountain-Holly - Nemopanthus mucronata
Native Shrubs ... in wildlife
West Virginia Native Plant Society
West Virginia Nongame Wildlife Program
||Mountain Holly - Tall
shrub or small tree, usually to 10 to 20 feet tall, open,
wide spreading top branches.
Long-Stalked - Shrub to 15 feet tall, usually
round-topped clumps if open grown, erect.
Mountain-Holly - Shrub to 10 feet tall, usually
round-topped clumps, erect.
||Bark and Twigs:
||Mountain Holly - Twigs
green to reddish, smooth. Bark smooth gray. Numerous
short stubby branches that are 1 to 2 inches long.
Long-Stalked - Slender twigs are gray to
Mountain-Holly - Twigs are very small, smooth,
||In general, deciduous, alternate, and
Mountain Holly - Elliptic with a very long
pointed tip; thin delicate texture; 2 to 4 inches long
with small sharp teeth on the margin; some leaves
clustered on the short stubby branches; turns yellow in
Long-Stalked - Oval to elliptic, smooth above
and beneath; turns yellowish in autumn.
Mountain-Holly - Elliptic with bristle tip;
entire or bearing a few widely spaced fine teeth on the
margin; 1/2 to 2 inches long; whitish green cast, turns
yellowish in autumn.
||Mountain Holly and Long-Stalked
- Small, inconspicuous, whitish-green flowers.
Mountain-Holly - Small, yellowish on long
stalks, singly or in small clusters.
||Mountain Holly - Bright
red, on short stalks less than 1/2 inch long.
Long-Stalked - Bright red, on long stalks
(usually about 1 inch long).
Mountain-Holly - Dull red, on long stalks
(usually about 1 inch long).
- Mountain Holly - Mountain counties of
Fayette, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Mercer, Monongalia,
Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh,
Randolph, Summers, Tucker, and Webster.
Long-Stalked - Very restricted range from
Nicholas, Pocahontas, Randolph, and Webster.
Mountain-Holly - High elevations in Grant,
Mineral, Pendleton, Preston, Randolph, and Tucker.
- Natural Habitat:
- Mountain Holly - Moist woods.
Long-Stalked - Glades, swamps, wet open woods
and open riverbanks.
Mountain-Holly - Around cold sphagnum bogs, more
rarely in damp, cool woods.
- Numerous species of birds feed on the fruits of deciduous
hollies. Turkeys, pileated woodpecker, bluebird, catbird,
mockingbird, robin, sapsucker, hermit thrush,
olive-backed thrush and brown thrasher have been observed
to be heavy feeders on the fruits. Bears, raccoons,
skunks, squirrels and white-footed mice are mammalian
species that eat the fruits. Deer browse foliage and
- The deciduous hollies have been used sparingly as
ornamentals compared to the more popular and showy
evergreen species and newer hybrids; nonetheless they are
generally adaptable to cultivation especially in moist,
acid soils that are partially shaded. Small plants are
easily transplanted during the dormant season. Greenwood
cuttings are an easier propagative procedure than
attempting to grow plants from seeds which are very slow
to germinate even with special treatment. This is because
hollies produce seeds with very immature embryos. By
selecting cuttings from shrubs of known sex a desired
balance between fruit-producing and pollinator plants can
be established (one staminate/pollen plant for each 4 to
8 nearby pistillate/fruiting plants).
- Uses: Small groups, hedges, borders or
Light: Partial shade or full sunlight.
Soil Moisture: Mountain Holly - Moist
well-drained soils; Long-stalked - Moist to wet;
Mountain-Holly - Wet.
Soil pH: Acid to slightly acid.
Problems: Trouble free.
Compiled by: Robert Deal, nurseryman and
professor of biology/botany at Glenville State College,
Glenville, West Virginia
Written by West Virginia Native Plant Society
members and jointly published with the WV Nongame Program
Illustration from Flora of West Virginia,
Strausbaugh and Core