Inkberry, Gallberry 'Shamrock'

Ilex glabra

Family: Aquifoliaceae (a-kwee-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)
Species: glabra (GLAY-bruh) (Info)
Cultivar: Shamrock



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (yellow-green)

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Athens, Alabama

Glastonbury, Connecticut

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Bartow, Florida

Savannah, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Petersburg, Indiana

Valparaiso, Indiana

Tyngsboro, Massachusetts

Barryville, New York

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Fayetteville, Pennsylvania

New Freedom, Pennsylvania

Sumter, South Carolina

Alexandria, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 27, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This is the most commonly sold cultivar of Inkberry Holly in southeast PA and in DE. It has glossy, handsome foliage that is smaller and narrower than most any Inkberry with a little brighter green color. The plants are female and can bear lots of the black berries (drupes), or not, that are good for birds but slightly toxic to humans, like all other holly species berries. It is a soft plant with flexible branching, unlike the stiff Japanese Holly that hurts when it pokes a person. It can be leggy or branched to the ground, depending. I often like shrubs or bushes to be sort of leggy, depending.


On Feb 8, 2012, azigoba from BARRYVILLE, NY wrote:

Beautiful and very robust.
Deer won't touch it year round.
Can suffer from winter sun scald.


On Jan 5, 2010, RichHurley from New Freedom, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

The stems of the inkberry are very brittle. I will probably have to replace two of the three I planted last year as they were badly damaged by the weight of melting snow. The snow had been almost two feet of powder snow when it fell but we had a warm spell which caused it to melt quickly and become very heavy. That heaviness practically destroyed the two shrubs not protected by a bay window. In the future, I will have to construct something to keep snow off of the inkberries. I have not had any snow damage with any of the other dozen or so Ilex shrubs I have -- just Ilex glabra.


On Oct 23, 2009, donnacreation from Sumter, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

These small trees grow up to 15 ft, and are very common in SC wetlands. Although they break easily in gusty winds, they regrow quickly, and provide profuse delicate and fragrant flowers in early spring.


On Mar 29, 2009, CARPE_DIEM from Chicago, IL wrote:

A nice alternative to boxwoods, less susceptible to winterburn in 5b/6a Chicago, also a deeper green color.


On Jun 22, 2004, soozin from Lowell, MA wrote:

After winter temperatures of -20 degrees Farenheit and wind chills -30 to -40, our four inkberry bushes were very, very slow to recover. As temperatures warmed in March and April, all the leaves turned brown and fell off. It wasn't until about mid June that new growth began to appear, but all four now seem to be rapidly recovering. I would like to give this plant a positive rating, but I was pretty discouraged in the spring when they were brown and then barren while everything else was greening up and blooming. They are very attractive shrubs and an otherwise great alternative to yews and other overused plants. In less severe climates, they should remain evergreen, from what I understand.


On Mar 17, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Better known as gallberry in Florida, it is well know as a medicinal plant. Its common name is given for the very bitter taste of the ripe black berries.

This attractive plant grows in flatwoods and boggy areas, and would be a nice addition to a natural landscape.


On Aug 5, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Found this lovely shrub at Callaway Gardens. It is great as a hedge and/or in woody settings, as long as the soil is kept moist consistently, like in a stream area. Native to the U.S. Southeast.