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Holly

Common Name(s): Holly, American Holly


Holly is typically used only for ornamental and decorative purposes. It has a fairly large shrinkage rate, with a lot of seasonal movement in service, and its strength properties are mediocre for a hardwood.

Thicknesses

Tree Size: 30-50 ft (9-15 m) tall, 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter

Distribution

Eastern United States

Scientific Name

Ilex opaca

Specific Gravity: Basic 12% MC

0.50

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.64

Janka Hardness

1,020 lbf (4,540 N)

Colour/Appearance

Ideal lumber has a very uniform, pale white colour with virtually no visible grain pattern. Knots are common, which can reduce the usable area of the wood. Can develop a bluish/gray fungal stain if not dried rapidly after cutting. Holly is usually cut during the winter and kiln dried shortly thereafter to preserve the white colour of the wood.

Grain/Texture

Grain is interlocked and irregular. Medium to fine uniform texture with moderate natural luster.

Endgrain

Diffuse-porous or semi-ring-porous; small to medium pores predominantly in radial multiples of 2-4, commonly arranged in radial rows, moderately numerous to numerous; growth rings may be distinct due to an intermittent row of earlywood pores; rays in variable sizes from narrow to very wide, normal to fairly close spacing; parenchyma not typically visible with lens.

Rot Resistance

Rated as non-durable or perishable, and susceptible to insect attack.

Workability

Can be difficult to work on account of the numerous knots and interlocked grain. Glues, stains, and finishes well, and is sometimes stained black as a substitute for Ebony. Turns well on the lathe.

Odor

No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity

Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Holly.

Pricing/Availability

Seldom available for commercial sale, Holly is an expensive domestic lumber, and is usually only available in small quantities and sizes.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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