Ilex glabra
Common name: 
Inkberry
Inkberry Holly
Gallberry
Evergreen Winterberry
Pronunciation: 
I-leks GLA-bra
Family: 
Aquifoliaceae
Genus: 
Type: 
Broadleaf
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
No
  • Broadleaf evergreen or partly evergreen shrub to 8 ft (2.5 m), upright branches.  Stems slender, green, holding the green color longer than those of Ilex crenata; suckers by underground stems.   Leaves alternate, simple, 2-5 cm long, obovate to oblanceolate, tip pointed (acute) to broad-pointed, base wedge-shaped (cuneate), margin entire or with a few teeth near the apex, glossy dark green above, hairless (glabrous); petiole 3-6 mm long.  [(Its leaves are thin, unlike those of I. crenata, with which it is often confused (Dirr, 1998)].  Flowers small, white-creamy petals; male (staminate) flowers 3 or more on slender stalks and female (pistilate) flowers often solitary and 5-8 parted.  Fruit globe-like, purplish-red, finally black, 6 mm, short stalked.
  • Sun to part shade.  Best in moist, acid soils, withstand heavy pruning.  Its many selections are considered by some authorities to be superior to those of I. crenata.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (4)5       Native from Nova Scotia to Florida and west to Missouri, Mississippi, and Texas.
  • glabra: without hairs, glabrous
  • There are many cultivars, over 20, but few are found in western North America.  Two cultivars that area available are:
    • ‘Compacta’  -  a dwarf, female form which grows to 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) tall, can be sheared to a much lower height.
    • ‘Shamrock’  -  slower growing than ‘Compacta’, to 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m), compact habit, bright glossy new foliage.
Click image to enlarge