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Ilex glabra

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Plant types and subtypes: Shrubs, Evergreens

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 6'-8'

Bloom Time: May, June, July

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Additional Tags: attracts birds, berries, colonizing, deer resistant, evergreen, fall interest, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, pond margin plant, salt tolerant, wetland plant

Ilex glabra (inkberry)
  • Ilex glabra (inkberry)
  • Ilex glabra (inkberry)
  • Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Ilex glabra

Also known as:

inkberry

,

gallberry

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Ilex glabra is a compact, broadleaf evergreen shrub, that typically grows no taller than 8'. The leaves are dark green, waxy, oblong to elliptic and finely toothed. Flowers are whitish or greenish, and rather inconspicuous and give way to showy dark purple fruit, on the female plants, that persist through winter.

Cultivation

Inkberry is easy to grow under typical garden conditions. It will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, ranging from heavy poorly drained soils to very well-drained ones, and can be grown in full sun to part-shade. It has a rhizomatous root system and, if desired, can be left to form colonies and thickets. Older plants can get leggy, but can easily be pruned to encourage a dense, full form. The species is dioecious, meaning it has separate male and female plants. Both are required to ensure fruit set. Foliage can show signs of stress if the temperature drops to around zero degrees for extended periods, but it is otherwise a care-free and trouble-free shrub. Zones 5-10

Propagation

Seeds are slow to germinate. Easy to propagate from semi-hardwood cuttings or by transplanting suckers.

Additional Notes

Still rather uncommon and underutilized. Inkberry is an excellent option for evergreen hedges, foundation plantings, and a great native alternative to boxwoods. Although a food resource of last resort, the fruit will be consumed by a wide variety of birds late in the season. Its native range includes coastal areas it is exposed to brackish waters an high levels of salt.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, LA, MA, MD, ME, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Exploitably Vulnerable: NY
  • Extirpated: PA
  • Threatened: CT, ME

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Celastrales
Family Aquifoliaceae Holly family
Genus Ilex holly
Species Ilex glabra inkberry