More Spectacular Fall Color: Yaupon Holly

Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria) is a wonderful small native tree. It can either be a large shrub or a small tree, growing up to about 25 feet tall and with a spread of about 15 feet wide. It will tolerate clipping and can be formed into a hedge, left to grow into a large vase-shaped shrub (wider at the top, narrow at the bottom), or trained into a small tree. It has small leathery leaves with scalloped margins, or edges. The fine texture of the plant makes a nice hedge. There are also dwarf varities for use in smaller landscape applications. It’s quite a versatile plant.

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Close up of the fruit.

This time of year is one of the best times in terms of color for the Yaupon Holly. The (female) plants are resplendent with fruit right now. The fruit of the Yaupon Holly is called a drupe- which looks like a berry. Most trees have red fruit, but yellow varieties can be found. In addition to the lovely sight of the fruit they are also a wildlife attractor and will encourage birds to visit your yard. The fruit is great for birds because they persist on the plant well into winter, providing a food source when others have become scarce.

Wouldn’t these make lovely holiday decorations as well!


Yaupon Holly in it’s natural vase shape.


Ilex vomitoria ‘Dodds Cranberry’


The “Planting Pinellas” blog will take a short holiday next week for Thanksgiving and return the following week. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted: November 19, 2010

Category: Home Landscapes

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