Weeping Yaupon Holly

Ilex vomitoria ‘Pendula’

This is a weeping form of the native tree/shrub.  This is an excellent specimen form of Yaupon.  Other forms are suitable for hedges, screens, barriers and espaliers.  Will thrive in damp or dry soils and is tolerant of salt spray.

Yaupon holly is the only holly in North America that has caffeine in its leaves.  Native Americans used it as the primary ingredient for the ‘Black Drink’ – a tea made by roasting the leaves and steeping them in hot water.  It was drunk on a daily basis as a social drink, much like we do coffee or tea.  During ritual cleansing ceremonies, large quantities were drunk at once to induce vomiting as a way to cleanse or purge the inner body (and therefore the source of the species name).  This tea was popular with all early colonial cultures – Europeans, Africans as well as Native American.  It was commonly known as South Sea Tea, Carolina Tea or Cassina.  The introduction of Asian teas diminished the popularity of this local tea.

Ilex vomitoria 'Pendula'

Type: Tree/shrub
Size: 15-25 feet tall
Flower: White, insignificant
Fruit: Translucent red drupe
Hardy: Zones 7-10
Native: Souteastern Virginia to Texas, primarily in the coastal plain

See other plant profiles