Over 400 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs, trees, and climbers, even some epiphytes. Leaves simple, alternate, rarely opposite, margins spiny, serrate, or entire; stipules present. Flowers usually dioecious, small, axillary, solitary or in small clusters, 4-8 sepals fused at base, 3-8 petals fused at base, 4-8 stamens. Fruit a berry. Found most places, except in western North America and Australia.
Ilex: from a similarity to the leaves of the evergreen oak, Quercus ilex.