Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Georgia Holly - Ilex longipes   Chapman ex Trelease
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Section 6 » Order Celastrales » Family Aquifoliaceae
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AuthorChapman ex Trelease
DistributionVerified records are from the southern and southwestern Piedmont, ranging north to Lincoln County, east to Anson County, and west to Gaston County. A sight report for Burke County was made by an NCNHP botanist, in 2023, a range extension to the northwest. There are a few “out-of-range” records, all historical but documented with specimens, from the far eastern Piedmont/Fall Line – Johnston, Nash, and Wilson counties. However, the specimens from these counties are misidentified and all are I. decidua. The Anson record is based on numerous photos on iNaturalist, in 2022, plus a specimen at NCU.

This is a Southern species that ranges north only to NC, TN, and AR; and south to western FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceRare to very uncommon in the several counties surrounding Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. This is a State Signficantly Rare species.
HabitatThis is a holly of upland forests, mostly in mesic to slightly dry conditions. It appears to prefer circumneutral soils, at least in NC, and thus it has a somewhat restricted habitat. The species can grow in somewhat rocky conditions, and some references say it occurs in “thickets”, though this does not seem to be the case in NC. Details of habitat and soil chemistry are still somewhat unclear.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits in September and October.
IdentificationThis is a medium-sized, rather ordinary-looking deciduous shrub, growing to about 10 feet tall. It has elliptical to somewhat oblanceolate leaves that are slightly serrated along the margins; the top side of the leaf is somewhat shiny and not as dull as those of I. decidua or I. verticillata. The leaves average about 3 inches long. What sets this species apart is the long pedicels (stems of the flowers and fruits); they average about 3/4-1-inch long and are quite noticeable; stalks of the other two common deciduous Piedmont hollies are very short such that the flowers and fruit appear to grow very tight to the stems. The “berries” are red, as are those of the other two species. As this is a scarce species, and can be easily overlooked if not for the long stalks of the flowers and fruits, most people are not familiar with it. In addition, it was included as a variety of Ilex decidua in RAB (1968), which may have reduced the interest in this taxon.
Taxonomic CommentsAs mentioned above, RAB (1968) and a few other references included this as a variety of I. decidua, named I. decidua var. longipes. Nearly all recent references consider this as a good species.

Other Common Name(s)Chapman’s Holly, Long-stalked Holly (but this is also a name for Ilex collina)
State RankS1S2
Global RankG5
State StatusSR-P
US Status
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USACE-empFAC link
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B.A. SorrieUnion County, 2010, dry-mesic ridge NE of Andrew Jackson memorial. UnionPhoto_natural

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