Ilex krugiana is one of some 500 species which occur in temperate to subtropical regions and which are common ornamental shrubs and trees. The species name honors the 19th century german botanist leopold krug who first described the plant in south america. It is native to the southeastern usa, west indies and south america. This holly is a handsome middle-sized tree with thin smooth bark, white when young and having an open irregular crown with leathery, dull green, 1/2 - 1 1/2 inch long leaves. New growth is dark red; dying leaves turn black. Small pea-sized fruit are red, ripening to purplish black. Grows well in limestone soils with humus at the surface and can be planted in wet sites. Krug's holly is a suitable understory tree, in landscaping it serves as a screening hedge, grown in containers, along streets and sidewalks. It responds well to pruning. The tree is dioecious with separate male and female plants; for fruit production a male is needed for pollen, delivered by bees. In florida, wild native populations of this tree are threatened.
Photo Credit Closeup: Keith Bradley, Flickr