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Ilex glabra (Gallberry, Inkberry holly)

Ilex glabra Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais


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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Botanical Name: Ilex glabra EYE-leks GLAB-rah Common Name: Gallberry, Inkberry holly Genus: Ilex
The inkberry holly has narrow, glossy, spineless leaves and tiny black fruits. The narrow foliage produces a much finer texture than that of many other hollies. A slow-growing, evergreen shrub native to eastern North America, it produces greenish white, inconspicuous flowers in spring, followed by jet black drupes the size of peas. The fruit can persist until the next spring unless eaten by birds. Ilex glabra is rather more casual in form than the spinier hollies and can be used in borders, around ponds, as foundation plantings, or in woodland gardens.
Noteworthy characteristics: Native to the eastern United States. Evergreen, spineless foliage. Black fruit is consumed by birds.
Care: Moist but well-drained, organically rich soil in full sun. Plant or transplant in spring. Pruning, if any, should be done in late winter or early spring.
Propagation: Sow seed in a cold frame in autumn. Ilex are slow to germinate from seed, sometimes taking several years. Take semi-ripe cuttings in summer or early fall.
Problems: Aphids may attack new growth. Scale insects, leaf miners, and Phytophthora root rot can sometimes be problems.
Height 6 ft. to 10 ft.
Spread 6 ft. to 10 ft.
Growth Pace Slow Grower
Light Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture Medium Moisture
Maintenance Moderate
Characteristics Attracts Birds; Native
Bloom Time Summer
Foliage Color Evergreen
Flower Color White Flower
Uses Beds and Borders, Hedge, Screening, Waterside
Style Woodland Garden
Type Shrubs

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