Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The only holly that is native to South Florida is dahoon holly. This evergreen tree usually reaches twenty to 30 feet in height and rarely reaches 40 feet. The leaves of dahoon holly are up to about four inches long and slender, unlike those of other hollies. Although sharply tipped, the margins of their leaves are generally smooth. Dahoon holly is found from Virginia to Louisiana and south through mainland Florida. Dahoon holly has been cultivated since the early-1700s and is usually available from native plant nurseries. Although it's native of wetland areas, such as cypress swamps, and can withstand flooding, the dahoon holly is also drought-resistant, making it a perfect tree for South Florida landscapes. If you want to produce the bright-red berries, as with most hollies, you must have at least two trees. Each tree is either male or female and only the female produces the berries. A female's flowers are pollinated by bees and other insects that carry the pollen from the male's flowers. Dahoon holly can be grown in patio containers, miniaturized as a bonsai, or planted around homes to add a festive red and green to winter landscapes.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.