Ennepta atomaria Raf.
Ennepta coriacea Raf.
Ilex lucida Torr. & A.Gray ex S.Watson
Prinos atomarius Nutt.
Prinos coriaceus Pursh
Prinos glaber P.Watson
Prinos lucidus Aiton
Common Name: Large Gallberry
Ilex coriacea is an evergreen shrub or small tree usually growing up to 3 metres tall but occasionally reaching 7 metres[
].. The plant can spread at the base by means of rhizomes[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is often grown as an ornamental[
Ilex coriacea has a wide distribution and grows in a range of different habitat types. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
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)
South-eastern N. America - Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia
Often a dominant understorey species is pine savannahs, low wet areas such as swamps, bays, river floodplains, and by the sides of streams and ponds[
]. Sandy woods and swamps[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
Succeeds in most soils that are not water-logged[
]. The plant is found in the wild in soils that are sandy, acidic, and low in organic matter. They are often poorly drained, and frequently or seasonally flooded[
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[
This species is closely related to Ilex glabra[
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[
The plant has very flammable foliage and will usually be top-killed in a forest fire. However, it reproduces from rhizomes and so will usually grow back after the fire[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
]. No more details are given but I would have some doubts on the wholesomeness of the fruit[
].The fruit is about 6 - 10mm in diameter[
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.