Ilex glabra (L.) A. Gray
Inkberry, Gallberry, Bitter Gallberry, Evergreen Winterberry, Inkberry Holly, Appalachian Tea
Inkberry, which is closely related to holly, is a North American native.
Identification: Plants are rounded shrubs 4-8' (1.2-2.4 m) tall. Leaves are dark green, shiny, 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) × ¼-½" (8.4-12 mm), roughly oval, and slightly toothed near the tips. Inkberry is dioecious—male and female flowers appear on the same plant. Both flowers are inconspicuous, cream-colored and often tinged with green, about ¼" (6.3 mm) in diameter, with six petals. Male flowers are in clusters, while female flowers are solitary. Fruits are clusters of black berries, each about ¼" (6.3 mm) in diameter.
Edibility: Tea made from the dried, roasted leaves contains caffeine, and tastes similar to yaupon tea.
Ilex glabra on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook
Ilex glabra at the University of Connecticut Plant Database
Ilex glabra at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Ilex glabra at the Ohio State University PLANTFacts database
Ilex glabra at Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum (PDF)
Ilex glabra on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Ilex glabra on FLORIDATA
Ilex glabra at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
Ilex glabra description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Oct 2018.
Range: Zones 4-9: