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Yaupon Holly

Ilex vomitoria

Family: Aquifoliaceae (a-kwee-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)
Species: vomitoria (vom-ih-TOR-ee-uh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden





Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

By stooling or mound layering

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

Midland City, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Tuskegee, Alabama

Morrilton, Arkansas

Wilmington, Delaware

Bartow, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Ellenton, Florida

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Hawthorne, Florida

Lake City, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palmetto, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Venice, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Decatur, Georgia

New Orleans, Louisiana

Springfield, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Perkinston, Mississippi

Saucier, Mississippi

Waynesboro, Mississippi

Davidson, North Carolina

Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Pinehurst, North Carolina

Enid, Oklahoma

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Abilene, Texas

Alice, Texas (2 reports)

Arlington, Texas

Athens, Texas

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Belton, Texas

Bryan, Texas

Carrollton, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Groesbeck, Texas

Huntsville, Texas

Leander, Texas

Montgomery, Texas

Port Neches, Texas

Richardson, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

Shepherd, Texas

Troup, Texas

Yoakum, Texas

Roanoke, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 5, 2015, kdhughes from Sanford, FL wrote:

The description on here says all parts of plant are poisonous, but that seems to not be the case. I recently read an article on NPR that talked about using the leaves for tea. The full article can be seen here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/08/04/429071993/her...

Interesting stuff!


On Apr 20, 2015, h9kr4jg8ir5 from Spring, TX wrote:

This is THE underbrush of the Southern forests. This helps keep alive millions of American birds that "fly south for the winter". Imagine all those birds arriving and finding nothing to eat. The red berries make every Christmas season. Grab a few branches and you have an instant wreath or holiday display. These bushes grow wonderfully underneath Oaks, Pines, or any other native trees. They can handle the hottest temperatures and droughts that any southern summer can throw at them. This is a beautiful, mystical shrub that we never get tired of looking at. America wouldn't be the same without her. Every southern yard should have them.


On Nov 14, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

There are some planted in southeast Pennsylvania and they look like a good broadleaf small tree to me. Like many other evergreen hollies with some sharp teeth on the leaves, they can poke one some, but not as bad as some others.


On Feb 26, 2013, ATD4411 from Montgomery, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Negative for me because the berries are toxic to my dogs and the dogs get covered in the stickers. I just moved onto a 5-acre property where the Yuapon variety is highly overgrown and everywhere! Yes, the berries were pretty this past fall but it spreads and grows over and above everything in its path.

It's gotta go!


On Feb 9, 2013, yaupon_nazi from Richardson, TX wrote:

I go with queenb on this!!!
These shrubs are in my back yard between the fence and pool and their runners are on the other side of the fence and on the top of the fence and in my neighbors yard in my front yard and in-between my window panes All from just 4 shrubs in the back yard.
I bought the house with them and had NO idea what a pain they would be! They aren't in sandy soil but black gumbo with 8 inches of lava rock (not my idea either!)
Does anyone know of a way to kill them short of bulldozers, hand grenades or nuclear strikes? It guzzles round-up and doesn't even burp! Help!!!


On Jun 9, 2012, TxSugarMagnolia from Yoakum, TX wrote:

Help! Our Yaupon is dropping leaves like crazy; I've not know this to happen around here. They may not be established well yet; were planted by a local nursery staff in our yard this February at about 3 feet tall. Both were doing well until a couple weeks ago; most leaves turned brown/black and have dropped off. There are some new green leaves coming in, though, and branches are still green inside, so plant has not died yet (?). Did have small white flowers on it when they were planted.

Do these "evergreens" molt leaves like this from time to time? Have watered every 3-4 days, with a little rain in between, and have them in full morning sun/partial evening sun. I've not seen the native ones around here doing this. Has anyone else experienced this? Thanx, TXSugarMagnolia, Yoa... read more


On Oct 26, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This tree is an amazing national treasure. If it were from some obscure Asian or South American province, American collectors would be freaking out over it and starting "societies" to cultivate it, but, being "just" a native, it gets short shrift. It has a natural bonsai-esque habit, and whose small leaves enhance the bonsai look. It's pretty much the Swiss Army Knife of Southern shrubs, with the ability to grow straight up and zig-zag out in many directions, or to lean towards light if grown in shade on the edge of a group of large trees. It looks amazing when pollarded / coppiced. Or just keep it in a big pot forever. It has the look of an olive tree, but takes humidity and rain much better than olives. The silvery bark is quite striking, especially on old specimens, whose trunks ... read more


On Apr 1, 2009, rsims from Austin, TX wrote:

currently have a row of these growing in hopes of creating a privacy screen. they're doing great but i'm seeking advice on the best way to prune them so that they'll start growing a bit wider. they're getting a bit leggy but reaching for the sky! thanks for any advice!


On Nov 3, 2008, Pughbear7 from Tulsa, OK (Zone 6b) wrote:

I really like this plant because of its tolerance to sheering into a lot of different shapes even topiaries with time. Being a native to west texa it lends itself to a drought resistance landscape (Xeriscape).


On Jul 8, 2006, katlowe from Pasadena, TX wrote:

We recently purchased 200 acres in Groesbeck, TX and these Yaupons which I have always admired in the past seem to run amuck in this sandy soil. The trees and other foliage are very thick and we would love someone who wants to harvest these Yaupons (and/or cedar) to contact us. I am a tree hugger and don't want to bulldoze anything. Help!


On Apr 28, 2006, gooley from Hawthorne, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Yeah, it does sucker. On the flip side, it's adaptable, and here on its native turf it is indestructible. On a visit to the Dallas area I noticed that it's used in the landscaping everywhere there, much more so than here in North Florida, and usually clipped aggressively to shape. I was sleepy so I chewed its leaves, which are very rich in compounds related to caffeine but which are less prone (in some people, supposedly) to cause the jitters. They're very bitter -- mostly from those compounds, yes -- and chewing wee leaves off bushes will freak people out. The leaves can be made into a tea, rather like that made from the leaves of the related yerba mate'; the Seminole made their infamous "black drink" from yaupon leaves and drank it in quantity in order to see visions -- with vomitin... read more


On Jan 21, 2005, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have many of these on my property. They can range from low shrubs to small trees. The female plants are beautiful in the winter when they are covered with berries. As stated above, mockingbirds seem to love them. Yaupon is very effective when used for natural privacy screening.


On Oct 23, 2004, QueenB from Shepherd, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

One plant that I'll be digging out, cutting down, and killing off for the rest of my natural life. We are the first to inhabit my property, and as a native, it's done its fair share of invading disturbed forest, a result of logging. It sends out miles of runners, will root along the trunk if knocked down, and if the main stem is killed off, will send up a hundred suckers in it's place. I have one token plant in my yard that I trim as a hedge because my huband likes it. Because of it's very rapid growth, it will quickly choke out other understory trees and plants.


On Sep 4, 2004, thesmorphoros from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have one mature specimen yaupon, and it's a beauty. These babies take shaping very well, and make great small trees under the canopy of larger ones. East of Austin, in Bastrop county, they are considered a pest, spreading rapidly through the sandy soil by runners.


On Jan 9, 2003, ButterflyGardnr from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is extremely versatile and adaptable. It will tolerate salt spray, highly alkaline soils, and it's drought tolerant. The berries are eaten by the birds, and mockingbirds seem to be especially attracted to them. Male trees are needed to get good fruit production on the female trees. The bark is a smooth, milky, whitish-gray color. I have several varieties of this plant in the landscape. One is a weeping form of the tree. Another is a new cultivar 'Will Fleming,' which has a very tall and thin shape (about 2 feet across) and only has male plants. There is a dwarf variety, 'Schellings Dwarf' that grows to about 2-3 ft. tall and forms a dense, small shrub. Cultivar 'Jewel' provides a large amount of berries. The leaves can be roasted and brewed to make a highly-caffienated... read more