Ilex glabra, or Inkberry Holly, is a colonial evergreen shrub with an erect but rounded form, 8 – 10 feet high. If you are not normally fond of prickly holly leaves, Inkberry may be the holly for you: it differs from all other evergreen hollies by lacking spines on the leaves. Inkberry leaves are dark green, shiny, roughly oval, and slightly toothed near the tips. It is a dioecious species, with male and female flowers appearing on separate plants. The flowers of Inkberry are usually 6-petaled, small, white and green (inconspicuous). The male flowers are in clusters, while female flowers are singular. Berries are a black with hints of red. This species is found in the coastal plain of all US states along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. In NC, it is reported in all lower piedmont and coastal plain counties. Inkberry thrives in rich, consistently moist, acidic soils in full sun, but it adapts really well to a wide range of light regimes (full sun to full shade), moisture levels and soil types, from sandy to heavier, peaty soils. It’s downside is that with age, the lower stems drop their leaves, creating an unattractive, leggy look in a more formal setting, but less important in a naturalistic planting. Inkberry is an understory plant in pine woods, and is stimulated by regular controlled burning, It is said to respond well to shearing for both rejuvenation and height control.