Evergreen Shrubs (6-10 ft)

Landscape Significance

The yaupon holly berries provide an important source of food for birds and other wildlife in late winter when there's not a lot of other things to eat.

It is commonly grown as a trimmed hedge, screen or windbreak that requires little maintenance due to its  drought and disease resistance.

Native Americans used yaupon as a ceremonial intoxicant and for medicinal purposes.

Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)
This photo was taken at Trident Technical College, N. Charleston, SC.

Yaupon holly is native from Long Island, New York to central Florida and west to Texas. In South Carolina it grows into a small evergreen tree with multiple stems that form dense shrubby clumps.  Female plants produce small red berries in large clusters that persist through fall and winter. New growth has a purplish tinge, then turns dark green.  The berries of yaupon holly are especially bright.

It grows 3 to 15 feet tall and 3 to 10 feet wide.  Yaupon Holly tolerates wind and hot climates better than most evergreen hollies and even salt spray in sun or light shade. No diseases are of major concern.

Identifying characteristics

The yaupon has simple, leathery, dark green leaves that are held alternately on the branches. Leaves are oval shaped, usually about 0.25-1 in and edged like sawteeth. The bark is smooth and gray. The tiny white flowers appearing in the spring are borne in the leaf axils, close against the stem.

More information on ilex is available at the Clemson Home & Garden Informaton Center: Clemson Home & Garden Information Center  - Ilex