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March 6th, 2019

Dahoon Holly

by R.S. Walsh

The native Dahoon Holly (Ilex Cassine) is a versatile, small shade tree that can be utilized in various locations in your island landscape.  The Dahoon Holly is a great bird attractor and it produces a bright red display of berries in the fall and winter.  These berries are desired by Mockingbirds, Robins, Waxwings and many other songbirds.

An interesting fact about Holly trees, they are dioecious, meaning there are both male and female trees. Only the female plants produce berries.   Grouping a male and female tree together with assure an abundance of berries.  Dahoons naturally occur in moist boggy areas on the edges of swamps and retention ponds.  This tree is found from Virginia to the Bahamas.  It also grows well in dryer landscape conditions with irrigation.  Full sun or partial shade, this tree does well in varied light conditions, making it a tree for all types of areas.  This Holly takes many forms as well.  It can be trained to a single trunk in a small tree form or used as a multi-trunk buffer tree with branches to the ground for a fuller look.

The Dahoon Holly is considered allergy free and causes little to no allergic reaction in people.  While birds love the berries, humans should not consume them as they are toxic to people if ingested.

This tree adapts to so many locations and conditions that it is truly one of the most versatile trees in our island landscape pallet.

This plant column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, Sanibel’s garden center located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Rd., Sanibel Island, Florida.

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