The Yaupon Holly is a distinctive evergreen native holly found in coastal counties in NC and other Southeastern states over to Texas. It tolerates a whole range of moisture regimes (wet to dry), soil types and pH, sunlight conditions (full sun to shade, but more sun makes more berries), and is both cold and heat tolerant. All this adaptaibility makes Yaupon exceptionally valuable for landscaping, and there are many cultivars in the trade. The species is considered a shrub or a shrubby tree, finely textured, often with a vase-shaped form upon maturity. Another outstanding trait of Yaupon is its superb prunability, and its natural form is almost never observed in landscaped areas. Yaupon lends itself to being shaped into hedges, arbors, espaliers, topiary, lollipop-shaped street trees, all kinds of ornamental shapes. In the wild it can reach as tall as 30 feet. Yaupon Holly is easily identified by it’s upright, rigid, almost-white branches. It’s leaves are ovate, leathery, glossy, and evergreen with rounded serrations which, the USDA points out, distinguishes it from the similar looking but horribly invasive Chinese Privet, Ligustrum sinense. Yaupon is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants) and the flowers appear in April. They are fragrant but generally inconspicuous. If a male is nearby, female flowers develop into strongly red berries of high clarity which persist into winter and are an important source of nourishment for a number of bird species. Yaupon can also be pollinated by nearby male specimens of either Ilex opaca (American Holly) or Ilex decidua (Possumhaw Holly).