Mountain holly is native to eastern North America. It prefers habitats that are moist, but drained,
and is often found on mountain slopes.
Plants: A deciduous shrub that reach 9½' (3 m) (rarely
13' (4 m)) tall. Older bark is thin, gray, either smooth or rough, dotted with lumpy lenticels.
Leaves: Alternate, elliptic to oblong, sometimes
wider toward the tip, hairless, 1-2½" (2.5-6.3 cm) long ×
¾ that in width. Leaf edges may be smooth or finely serrated, with a sharp tip. Their petioles (stems)
are ⅛-¾" (5-20 mm) long.
Flowers: Inconspicuous, whitish to greenish yellow, ⅛" (5 mm) in
size, on thin peduncles (stalks) ⅞" (2.5 cm) or more in length. Each flower has 4-5 petals narrow,
often bent, petals. Male flowers have yellow-tipped stamens between the petals. Female flowers have
shorter sterile stamens and a large green urn-like ovary in the center, with a yellowish stigma atop.
Fruits: Round red drupes ⅛-¼" (6-7 mm) in diameter, with 3-5 pits.
The surface is dull, not shiny.