Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Ilex montana
Mountain Winterberry

Technical Page

by Steven D. Glenn
Not peer reviewed
Last modified: 02/07/2013

Nomenclature

Ilex montana Torr. & A.Gray ex A.Gray, Manual 276. 1848, not I. montana (Sw.) Griseb. 1861.

Ilex ambigua sensu Torr., Fl. New York 2: 2. 1843, not Prinos ambiguus Michx. 1803.

Prinos ambiguus sensu A.W.Wood, Class-book Bot. 2: 243. 1845, not Michx. 1803.

Ilex monticola A.Gray, Manual ed. 2, 264. 1856.

Ilex amelanchier var. monticola A.W.Wood, Amer. Bot. Fl. 208. 1870.

Ilex dubia Trel. ex Loes. in Koehne, Deutsche Dendr. 371. 1893, exclud. basonym.; not Weber 1851, nor Britton et al. 1888.

Ilex dubia var. monticola (A.Gray) Loes., Monogr. Aquifol. 1: 485. 1901.

Ilex dubia var. monticola f. genuina Loes., Monogr. Aquifol. 1: 486. 1901.

TYPE: unknown

 

Ilex montana var. mollis (A.Gray) Britton in Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 17: 313. 1890.

Ilex mollis A.Gray, Manual ed. 5, 306. 1867.

Ilex dubia Trel. ex Loes. in Koehne, Det. Dendrol. 371. 1893, p.p.; not Weber 1851, nor Britton, et al. 1888.

Ilex monticola mollis Britton in Mem. Torrey Bot. Club 5: 217. 1894.

Ilex dubia var. mollis (A.Gray) Loes., Monogr. Aquifol. 1: 486. 1901.

Ilex dubia var. mollis f. Grayana Loes., Monogr. Aquifol. 1: 487. 1901.

TYPE: unknown

 

Ilex montana var. Beadlei (Ashe) Fernald in Rhodora, 41: 428. 1939.

Ilex Beadlei Ashe in Bot. Gaz. 24: 377. 1897, nom. subnud.

Ilex dubia var. mollis f. Beadlei (Ashe) Loes., Monogr. Aquifol. 1: 487. 1901.

Ilex dubia var. Beadlei Rehder, Man. Cult. Trees 546. 1927.

TYPE: unknown

Description

HABIT Perennial, deciduous, phanerophytic, shrub, diclinous and dioecious, 1-9 m tall.

STEMS Main stems erect, gray, round. Bark smooth, not exfoliating. Branches erect or ascending. Twigs gray, not odoriferous, terete, 2-4 mm in diam., smooth, glabrous, eglandular, short shoots with imbricate leaf scars on 2nd year+ wood. Pith white, round, continuous, nodal diaphragm absent. Sap translucent.

BUDS Terminal and axillary present, scattered along stem. Bud scale scars not encircling the stem. Leaf scars crescent-shaped; bundle-traces 1.

LEAVES Alternate, simple, spiral, 1-3 per node, spaced somewhat evenly along and divergent from stem. Stipules lateral, deciduous, scale-like, minute, caduceus, dropping shortly after buds open. Leaves petiolate, petiole terete, 0.4-1.5 cm long, glabrous or with long and unbranched erect or spreading hairs, sparse or moderately dense or dense, distributed throughout. Not glabrescent, eglandular. Leaf blades: abaxial surface light green, adaxial surface green, elliptic or ovate or widely elliptic or widely ovate, bilaterally symmetric, 3-9 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, membranaceous, base acute or cuneate, margin toothed, serrate, apex acuminate, abaxial surface with long and unbranched erect or spreading white hairs, sparse or moderately dense or dense, distributed throughout or distributed along midveins, eglandular. Adaxial surface with long and unbranched erect or appressed or spreading white hairs, sparse or moderately dense, distributed throughout or distributed along midveins, eglandular. Venation semicraspedodromous.

INFLORESCENCES Unisexual, fascicle, axillary, also at end of short shoots. Pedicel 3-5 mm long, glabrous, eglandular.

FEMALE FLOWERS Sepals and petals readily distinguishable from one another, 4-merous or 5-merous or more than 5-merous, 4-5 mm wide, fragrance absent, perianth of two whorls. Calyx actinomorphic, persistent. Sepals 4-6, triangular, margins ciliate, apex acute or obtuse, abaxial surface with long and unbranched erect or spreading hairs, sparse or moderately dense, distributed throughout, eglandular. Corolla actinomorphic, deciduous, abaxial and adaxial surfaces white. Petals 4-6, margins ciliate, apex obtuse, abaxial surface glabrous, adaxial surface glabrous, eglandular. Gynoecium syncarpous. Style and stigma 1, stigma capitate. Ovary superior, glabrous. Placentation axile. Androecium abortive, rudimentary and sterile.

MALE FLOWERS Fascicled, axillary. Peduncle 0.3-0.6 cm long. Pedicel 0.3-0.6 mm long, glabrous, eglandular. 4-5 mm wide, perianth of two whorls. Calyx actinomorphic, persistent. Sepals 4-6, triangular, margins ciliate, apex acute or obtuse, glabrous, eglandular. Corolla actinomorphic, deciduous, abaxial and adaxial surfaces white. Petals 4-6, margins ciliate, apex obtuse, glabrous, eglandular. Stamens 4-6. Anthers opening along the long axis, glabrous, eglandular. Filaments free, eglandular. Gynoecium vestigial.

FRUITS Drupe, red, globose, 8-10 mm long, 8-10 mm wide, glabrous, eglandular.

SEEDS Oblong elliptic in outline; trigonal in cross section, 6 mm long, 3 mm wide, glabrous, eglandular, ribbed.

Habitat

Mesic upland woods.

Distribution

Native to the eastern United States.

United States -- AL, CT, GA, KY, MA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, RI?, SC, TN, VA, VT?, WV

New York Metropolitan Region -- Native, historically distributed throughout the metropolitan area, now found mostly inland.

Rarity Status

Heritage global rank -- G5

Connecticut -- Not listed

New Jersey -- S1

New York -- Not listed

Species Biology

Flowering

June

 

Pollination

Probably Mellittophily

 

Fruiting

July - September

 

Dispersal

Probably endozoochory by avian frugivores.

 

Germination

Schopmeyer, 1974; Dirr, 1987

In nature, holly seeds usually germinate from 1-3 years after dispersal, and natural regeneration commonly is sparse. The seeds have hard seed coats and dormant or immature embryos; as a rule they are difficult to germinate. Germination is probably epigeous. Satisfactory germination results have been attained for other holly spp. by first stratifying the seeds in moist sand for 60 days (68 degrees F at night, 86 degrees F by day) followed by 60 days at 41 degrees.

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