WILD FOODIES' HOME PAGE
PLANT PROFILE LIST

  Ilex opaca USDA.jpg 

 

NAME: American Holly

SPECIES / FAMILY:  Ilex Opaca / Aquifoliaceae

OTHER COMMON NAME(S): 

CONDITIONS: full shade-partial shade
 

PARTS:

EDIBLE cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

TASTE

RAW/COOK

SEASON

All

 

 

 

 

Shoots

 

 

 

 

Leaves

black tea

DRY/ROAST

all

Stalk/Stem

 

 

 

 

Buds

       

Flowers

 

 

 

 

Fruits

 

 

 

 

Pods

 

 

   

Seeds

 

 

 

 

Nuts

 

 

 

 

Roots

 

 

 

 

Bark

 

 

 

 

 

PORTION: small

 

COMMENT: The roasted leaves are used as a tea substitute. They do not contain caffeine. The drink was a very popular tea substitute during the American Civil war.(1) Some advise to air dry for 2-3 weeks before roasting.

 

CAUTION: Do not consume berries.// Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stupor if eaten in quantity. Others report that the fruits can cause violent vomiting.(1)

 

NUTRITION/MEDICINAL:  Antiperiodic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Laxative;  Ophthalmic;  Skin. The berries are laxative, emetic and diuretic. They are used in the treatment of children's diarrhea, colic and indigestion. A tea made from the leaves has been used as a treatment for measles, colds etc. The leaves have also been used externally in the treatment of sore eyes, sore and itchy skin. A tea made from the bark was once used in the treatment of malaria and epilepsy. It has also been used as a wash for sore eyes and itchy skin.(1)

 

LOOK-A-LIKES:  

 

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES: 

 

OTHER USES: Historically, used to clean chimneys because of their stiff, toothy leaves.(2)  Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Shelterbelt;  Wood. Fairly wind-resistant, this species is also used in shelterbelt plantings. A dye has been made from the berries - the colour is not given. Wood - light, tough, not strong, close grained, highly shock resistant, easily worked. A strikingly white wood, it is valued for use in veneers and inlay, valued for use in cabinet making and the interior finishes of houses, it is also used for making small items such as tool handles. The wood can also be stained to imitate ebony.(1)

 

SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):

  1. https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ilex+opaca
  2. http://www.eattheweeds.com/hollies-caffein-antioxidants
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilex_opaca
  4. http://www.foragingtexas.com/2012/05/american-holly.html (good photos)