Inkberry, Inkberry Holly, Gallberry, Evergreen Winterberry
- Broadleaf evergreen or partly evergreen shrub to 8 ft (2.5 m), upright branches. Stems slender,
green, holding the green color longer than those of Ilex crenata; suckers by underground stems.
Leaves alternate, simple, 2-5 cm long, obovate to oblanceolate, tip pointed (acute) to
broad-pointed, base wedge-shaped (cuneate), margin entire or with a few teeth near the apex, glossy dark
green above, hairless (glabrous); petiole 3-6 mm long. [(Its leaves are thin, unlike those of
I. crenata, with which it is often confused (Dirr, 1998)]. Flowers small, white-creamy
petals; male (staminate) flowers 3 or more on slender stalks and female (pistilate) flowers often solitary
and 5-8 parted. Fruit globe-like, purplish-red, finally black, 6 mm, short stalked.
- Sun to part shade. Best in moist, acid soils, withstand heavy pruning. Its many selections are considered by some authorities to be superior to those of I. crenata.
- Hardy to USDA Zone (4)5 Native from Nova Scotia to Florida and west to Missouri, Mississippi, and Texas.
- glabra: without hairs, glabrous
- There are many cultivars, Dirr (1998) lists over 20, but few are available in western North America. Two cultivars that area available are:
- Compacta - a dwarf, female form which grows to 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) tall, can be sheared to a much lower height.
- Shamrock - slower growing than Compacta, to 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m), compact habit, bright glossy new foliage.