Ilex vomitoria

[Dwarf variety on the right]
(Photos by Jessica Gomez)

View the Location on Campus

Taxonomy (3)

Classification: Angiosperm, dicot
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Common name: Yaupon Holly
Varieties: Dwarf Yaupon Holly 

General Information (1,5)

Region of Origin: Long Island, New York to central Florida and west to Texas
USDA Plants Hardiness Zones: 7-10
Growth Habit: Shrub or small tree

  • Size: 15-20 feet tall; 2 feet tall (Dwarf)
  • Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
  • Flowering: Spring
  • Fruiting: Fall and Winter

Diagnostic Characteristics

Leaves (1)

  • Arrangement: Alternate
  • Simple/Compound: Simple
  • Shape: Ovate
  • Other: 0.5-1.5 inches long, 3/4 inch wide

[Dwarf variety on the right]
(Photos by Jessica Gomez)

Stem/Bark (1)

  • Color: Purplish to whitish-gray
  • Texture: Glabrous

[Dwarf variety on the right]
(Photos by Jessica Gomez)

Flower (1)

  • Perfect/Imperfect: Imperfect (Dioecious)
  • Color: Greenish-white

[Dwarf variety on the right]
(Photos by Jessica Gomez)

Fruit (1)

  • Fruit type: Drupe
  • Size: 1/4 inch
  • Color: Scarlet

[Picture of Yaupon Holly fruit]
(Photo by Jessica Gomez)

Horticultural Information (1,2,4,6)

  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • pH: Slightly alkaline (to acidic for Dwarf) 
  • Maintenance: Easy to care for
  • Landscape Uses: informal screens, barriers, topiary plant, hedges, and foundation plant
  • Other: Salt tolerant; Fertilize in spring, summer, and fall (Dwarf)

Interesting Facts (1,2)

  • Indians made infusion of the leaves and drank until vomiting occurred to cleanse them of impurities of body and soul.


1)Dirr, M. A. (1990. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their identification, ornamental characteristics, culture, propagation and uses. Stipes publishing company
2)Scheper, J (2004)Floridata Ilex vomitorium
5) U of A division of Agriculture

Prepared by Jessica Gomez as a course requirement for BIOL 3630/5630, Spring 2013
Edited by Jessica Bartek