Graves, Arthur H. Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, Connecticut.
Davis, Kenneth P. School of Forestry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
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Any species of the genus Ilex. The American species of holly (Ilex opaca) attains a maximum height of 40–50 ft (12–15 m) and has evergreen leaves. American holly grows naturally in the eastern and southeastern United States, close to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, in the Mississippi Valley, and westward to Oklahoma and Missouri. It is best known for its bright red berries, which make a pleasing contrast with the deep green spiny leaves (see illustration); for this reason, it is valued for decorations at the Christmas season. The wood is hard, tough, and close-grained. The heartwood is ivory white when first cut, but becomes brownish with age or upon exposure, and takes a high polish. It is used for cabinetwork and musical instruments; because it resembles ivory, it is used sometimes for keys of pianos and organs. Its fine grain makes it valuable for wood-engraving work. The Janka hardness for American holly is 1020 lb-force (463 kg-force); its density is 38 lb/ft3 (609 kg/m3). See also: Ornamental plants
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