Ilex mucronata

"Mountain holly" redirects here. For the New Zealand species commonly known as "mountain holly", see Olearia macrodonta.

Ilex mucronata (mountain holly or catberry) is a species of holly native to eastern North America, from Newfoundland west to Minnesota, and south to Maryland and West Virginia.[1]


It was formerly treated in its own monotypic genus as Nemopanthus mucronatus (L.) Loes., but transferred to Ilex on molecular data;[2] it is closely related to Ilex amelanchier.[3]


Ilex mucronata is a deciduous shrub growing to 3 m (rarely 4 m) tall. The leaves are 1.5-7 cm long and 1-3 cm broad, with an entire or finely serrated margin and an acute apex, and a 0.5–2 cm petiole. The flowers are inconspicuous, whitish to greenish-yellow, produced on slender peduncles 25 mm or more long; it is usually dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants. The fruit is a red drupe 6–7 mm diameter containing three to five pits.[4][5][6]

The name "mountain holly" is also sometimes used for the related mountain winterberry (Ilex montana).


For an image of Ilex mucronata flowers (male), see:


  1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Ilex mucronata
  2. ^ Powell, M., Savolainen, V., Cuénod, P., Manen, J. F., & Andrews, S. (2000). The mountain holly (Nemopanthus mucronatus: Aquifoliaceae) revisited with molecular data. Kew Bulletin 55: 341-347.
  3. ^ Gottlieb, A. M., Giberti, G. C., & Poggio, L. (2005). Molecular analyses of the genus Ilex (Aquifoliaceae) in southern South America, evidence from AFLP and ITS sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 92: 352-369. Available online.
  4. ^ Northern Ontario Plant Database: Ilex mucronata.
  5. ^ Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Nemopanthus mucronatus.
  6. ^ Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission: Supplement to key to common wetland shrubs of Wisconsin (pdf file).
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