Hollies - Mountain (Largeleaf) Holly - Ilex montana, Long-staked Holly - I. collina, Mountain-Holly - Nemopanthus mucronata

 

 

Native Shrubs ... in wildlife landscaping

West Virginia Native Plant Society
West Virginia Nongame Wildlife Program

  Form: 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 greenish.
Mountain-Holly
- Twigs are very small, smooth, gray.
  Leaves: In general, deciduous, alternate, and simple.
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 autumn.
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.
  Flowers: Mountain Holly and Long-Stalked - Small, inconspicuous, whitish-green flowers.
Mountain-Holly
- Small, yellowish on long stalks, singly or in small clusters.
  Fruit: 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).
West Virginia Range:
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.
Wildlife Use:
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 twigs.
Horticulture:
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 screens.
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