Dahoon Holly (Ilex cassine) is a middle sized tree that grows up to 50 feet tall and can often be found in large colonies, as it is naturally clonal and can spread by offshoots. It is a common element in wetlands throughout the state of Florida but can easily handle dryer conditions in the landscape if given enough time to adapt. On the ELC campus it grows at the edge of the salt marsh at our pond, where it provides wonderful shade in summer and winter, as it is an evergreen, like most true hollies.
While similar in appearance to the iconic American Holly (Ilex opaca), that is often associated with Christmas, the edges of the dark green leaves of Dahoon Holly are either less spiky, or even lack the spikes almost entirely, which can make it hard to identify this plant.
With its festive bright red berries that are eaten by birds, and a trunk that is often decorated with multiple species of colorful crustose lichen (see picture), it has aesthetic qualities to be considered as specimen tree in the landscape.