Ilex glabra
Common name: 
Inkberry Holly
Evergreen Winterberry
I-leks GLA-bra
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • 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, available cultivars include:
    • ‘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.
    • Gem Box® -  a small ball shape, 2-3 ft tall and wide, reportedly maintains branches to the ground, a substitute for boxwood
    • ‘Shamrock’  -  slower growing than ‘Compacta’, to 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m), compact habit, bright glossy new foliage
    • Strongbox®  -  bit broader and less rounded than Gen Box®, stays green and well-branched right to the ground
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