Inkberry

InkberryThe Aquifoliaceae family commonly called the Holly Family consists of 300-350 small to medium sized shrubs and trees; nearly all in the holly genus (Ilex). There is one native tree and four native shrub species in New Jersey. The name of this species (glabra) means “smooth” and refers to the smooth, leathery, leaves of Inkberry. The common name Inkberry likely refers to the black berry that can be dried and ground and used as a dye. Berries from plants in this genus (Ilex) are eaten by wildlife. Many species of birds, especially Mockingbirds and thrushes, eat the fruits of Inkberry and the spring flowers are particularly attractive to insect pollinators. Inkberry is relatively free of pests and diseases; and this hardy shrub is frequently used as a landscape plant.

OtherCommonName:

Bitter Holly, Bitter Gallberry

ScientificName:

Ilex glabra

Community:

Thicket

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Woody Shrub

PlantHeight:

3 to 9 feet

FruitingTime:

Mid September to November

Distribution:

Nova Scotia to Florida ~ Throughout the Coastal Plain and the entire coastal strip in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

Mid June to July

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Bushy shrub ~ Leaves alternate, evergreen, leathery, deep green, oblong to lance shaped, margins have few curved appressed teeth, ~ Twigs short, fine hairs ~ Flowers small, solitary, white to light green ~ Fruit berry-like, at first green maturing to black, firm, dry, often persisting through winter