Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Sarvis Holly - Ilex amelanchier   M.A. Curtis ex Chapman
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Section 6 » Order Celastrales » Family Aquifoliaceae
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AuthorM.A. Curtis ex Chapman
DistributionStrictly in the southern Coastal Plain, ranging north to Montgomery (the southeastern portion) and Harnett counties; ranges east only to Sampson and Pender counties.

This is a Southern species that is restricted to the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains; it reaches north to southeastern NC, and south to the FL panhandle and LA.
AbundanceRare over its range in the Coastal Plain, but can be fairly common along a few blackwater rivers, especially the Lumber River. This is an NC Watch List species.
HabitatThis species has a narrow habitat range, and thus over its many counties it has a quite localized/restricted geographic area. It occurs mainly along the forested banks of blackwater rivers and creeks, but it also occurs in Carolina bays, particularly clay-based bays.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, but fruits do not ripen until October and November, persisting into winter.
IdentificationThis is a medium to fairly tall deciduous shrub that is often broader than tall, frequently growing out over the water adjacent to the creek and river banks. Its alternate leaves are somewhat oblong (parallel-sided) to elliptic, dull above, entire to very finely-serrated, and reach about 3 inches long (a bit larger than other holly species). The leaves have fairly long petioles. The red drupes are quite conspicuous in fall as they adorn the branches – though typical for most hollies. This can be an easily passed over shrub by inexperienced people, if not in fruit; but if you are cognizant of looking for this species along the banks of blackwater creeks and rivers, it can be readily seen in some counties near the SC border. In fact, the best way to see the species is from a canoe, especially paddling slowly down the Lumber River. In addition, the red fruit remain on the shrubs through the winter, making the plants easy to spot if canoeing in the winter.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Swamp Holly, Serviceberry Holly
State RankS3
Global RankG4
State StatusW1
US Status
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B.A. Sorrie.Scotland County, 1993, Drowning Creek, Camp Mackall. ScotlandPhoto_natural
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