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Genera : 3-4

Species: 400

Distribution: cosmopolitan with few in Africa and Australia.


Economic Uses: As ornamental 'holly' and for hard white wood. South American tea - yerba maté.

Defining Features of Interest: Ilex genus lacks nectiferous disk others have.

Fossil Evidence:plants parts in Upper Cretaceous (Australia) and Tertiary.

Defining Morphology

Floral Features : Small,actinomorphic, unisexual and dioecious (rarely perfect). Inflorescence a solitary flower or in axillary cymes, terminal cymes, panicles, racemes or spikes.Hypogynous.

Fruit and Seed Features : Fruit as a berry or drupe. Seeds very small and hard, numerous. Placentation axile. Endosperm abundant.

Vegetative Features : Habit as shrubs or small trees. Leaves simple, alt (rarley opp) sometimes appearing whorled. Stipules small or lacking.