Dahoon holly, or Ilex cassine, is a small evergreen tree that is native to the damp lowlands of the southeast of the United States. It has an attractive, upright habit and grows 20 to 30 feet tall (40 feet max) with a 10 foot spread. It has medium green leaves only 2 to 3 inches long  creating a fine texture. The flowers are small and white and occur in clusters. They are more noticeable on the female trees, though, in neither sex are they particularly noteworthy. But in autumn, Dahoon is loaded with brilliant red berries (occasionally golden yellow or orange) that persist into winter, and provide good forage for wildlife. However, there must be male and female Dahoons for berry production. Dahoon could be well used as a hedge or screen since it takes clipping so well, or left alone, it makes a slender well-behaved, small tree.

For those low areas that are often wet or occasionally flooded, this is a first choice. That said, it also survives drought. It makes a good street tree or container plant and an excellent bonsai specimen.

Dahoon holly


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