Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Ilex laevigata (Pursh) Gray
EtymologyIlex is from the Latin name for Quercus ilex (Holm oak), an evergreen species with spiny leaves that resemble holly leaves; laevigata means smooth in Latin.
DescriptionA deciduous, broad-leaved shrub, smooth winterberry grows to 14' tall. It is similar to common winterberry (Ilex verticillata), but it is less common and inhabits the coastal plain.
Wetland indicator statusOBL
Plant Heightto 14 feet
LeavesDeciduous, alternate, simple, finely-toothed, 1 1/2 - 3" long; elliptical to obovate or oblanceolate, pointed at both tip and base; upper leaf shiny green; underside smooth but may be hairy on the veins; yellow in autumn.
Flower/InflorescenceMale and female flowers on different plants; white, tiny (less than 1/4"), 1-2 in leaf axils; male flowers on longer stalks than female flowers.
Flowering PeriodMay-June
FruitBerry, small (1/4"), bright orange-red (rarely yellow), singly on small stalk (but longer than that of <i>I. verticillata</i>); persistent calyx with smooth, entire lobes (eciliate).
Fruiting PeriodAugust-October, persisting into early winter.
HabitatSwamps, bogs, wet woods.
RangeSouthern Maine and New York, south to South Carolina, chiefly on the coastal plain.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett