American holly (Ilex opaca) is a species of holly, native to the eastern and south-central United States, from coastal Massachusetts south to central Florida, and west to southeastern Missouri and eastern Texas. American holly is a broad-leaf evergreen with a beautiful shape, but with a variety of insect and disease problems. The tree offers clusters of red berries that persist throughout fall and winter. Male and female flowers are on separate trees, so trees of both sexes must be located within the same area to ensure fruit production.
American holly is the state tree of Delaware. A great deal of superstition once surrounded holly. It was believed that planting hollies near buildings would provide protection from witchcraft and lightning. It was also believed that the flowers of holly could be used to turn water to ice.