Ilex cassena Michx.
Ilex cassinoides Dum.Cours.
Ilex cassinoides Link
Ilex castaneifolia Decne.
Ilex dahoon Walter
Ilex floridana Lam.
Ilex lanceolata Griseb.
Ilex lanceolata Chapm.
Ilex laurifolia Nutt.
Ilex ligustrifolia G.Don
Ilex ligustrina Elliott
Ilex myrtifolia Lam.
Ilex peragua Trel.
Ilex phyllyreifolia Decne.
Ilex ramulosa Raf.
Ilex religiosa Barton
Ilex rosmarinifolia Lam.
Ilex watsoniana Spach
Ilex wrightii Trel.
Prinos cassinoides Steud.
Prinos lanceolatus Hill
Cassine caroliniana Lam.
Cassine corymbosa Mill.
Cassine ramulosa Raf.
Viburnum corymbosum (Mill.) Rehder
Ilex mexicana (Turcz.) Black ex Hemsl.
Pileostegia mexicana Turcz.
Ageria cassena Raf.
Ageria geminata Raf.
Ageria heterophylla Raf.
Ageria obovata Raf.
Ageria palustris Raf.
Hexotria lanceolata Raf.
Hierophyllus cassena (Michx.) Raf.
Ilex angustifolia Salisb.
Ilex angustifolia Willd.
Ilex atramentaria Barton
Ilex caroliniana Mill.
Common Name: Cassine
Ilex cassine is an evergreen tree that usually grows around 3 - 9 metres tall, though it can reach 21 metres in Florida[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
Ilex cassine has a high population across a very extensive range. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2018)[
Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, Ilex species in general contain several potentially toxic compounds, particularly saponins, glycosides and triterpenoids. These compounds also often have a range of potential health benefits[
The berries are usually the part of the plant most likely to be toxic, though the degree of toxicity is usually low. Their bitter flavour usually prevents a person eating more than one or two, but even a small handful of the fruit eaten by a healthy adult is unlikely to cause more than feelings of nausea that can lead on to vomiting and diarrhoea[
The compounds in the leaves are particularly interesting. The leaves of many Ilex species around the world are commonly used to make health-promoting teas that, when drunk on a regular basis, help to regulate bodily functions and can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood-cholesterol levels etc (See Ilex paraguariensis or Ilex kaushue for examples)[
]. Even these teas, however, if taken in very concentrated doses, can act as a laxative or cause vomiting. Indeed, several species are used by traditional peoples to induce vomiting as a means of purifying the body (see Ilex guayusa or Ilex vomitoria for examples)
Southern N. America - central and northern Mexico, east to North Carolina and Florida; Caribbean - Bahamas, Cuba
Cold swamps and on their borders in rich moist soils. Occasionally also found on high sandy banks of pine barren streams[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Ilex species generally tolerate most soils that are not water-logged[
A slow-growing and generally short-lived species in the wild[
Resents root disturbance, especially as the plants get older[
]. It is best to place the plants into their permanent positions as soon as possible, perhaps giving some winter protection for their first year or two[
Flowers are produced on the current year's growth[
Plants are very tolerant of pruning and can be cut right back into old wood if required[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
The dried and roasted leaves can be used as a tea substitute[
]. Some caution is advised since it can cause dizziness and have a laxative effect[
The leaves are hypnotic and laxative[
A strong decoction of the plant was used by some native North American Indian tribes to induce vomiting. This was seen partly as a physical and partly a spiritual cleansing[
The plant has been used as a soap[
]. No more information is given.
Wood - soft, light, close-grained, not strong[
]. It weighs 30lb per cubic foot[
]. Of no commercial importance[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It can take 18 months to germinate. Stored seed generally requires two winters and a summer before it will germinate and should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame. Scarification, followed by a warm stratification and then a cold stratification may speed up the germination time[
]. The seedlings are rather slow-growing. Pot them up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame for their first year. It is possible to plant them out into a nursery bed in late spring of the following year, but they should not be left here for more than two years since they do not like being transplanted. Alternatively, grow them on in their pots for a second season and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Give them a good mulch and some protection for their first winter outdoors.
Cuttings of almost ripe wood with a heel, August in a shaded position in a cold frame. Leave for 12 months before potting up.
Layering in early autumn. Takes 2 years.