Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)
Yaupon Holly, also known as Yaupon, is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the Aquifoliaceae (holly) family, along with Yerba Mate. It is native to the southeastern US, known for its highly caffeinated, antioxidant rich leaves used for tea. The fast growing plant creates energizing tea similar in taste to yerba mate. When taken in large quantities, it has a cleansing effect.
The dioecious plant grows separate male and female plants and will only create berries when both plants are present, so two plants will be needed for pollination of fruit. That said, the glossy oval leaves can be harvested with or without their fruit production. When the Yaupon Holly flowers, it attracts an abundance of pollinators with its teeny white, nectar-rich blossoms. When the red drupe matures over winter, small animals feast on the berries.
The easily maintained, prune-ready landscaping shrub makes for great, fast-growing hedge and can also easily be grown in a container!