Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Dicotyledon Literature for Ilex anomala
Wagner et al., 1990, 1999; Lorence & Wagner, 2020.
   Aquifoliaceae -- The Holly Family Bibliography
      Ilex anomala

Common name(s): holly, `aiea (Kaua`i), kawa`u
General Information
DistributionOccurring in the Society (Tahiti), Marquesas, and Hawaiian Islands.In the Hawaiian Islands, indigenous to Kaua`i, O`ahu, Moloka`i, Lana`i, Maui, Hawai`i.

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Dioecious or polygamodioecious tree or occasionally shrub, 3–5(–12) m tall.
Leaves petiolate; blade dark green and glossy adaxially, abaxial surface paler, thick and coriaceous, oblanceolate, elliptic to ovate, obovate, or sometimes suborbicular, (3–)4–12(–19) cm long, (1.5–)2–6(–9.5) cm wide, venation conspicuously reticulate, veins impressed on adaxial surface, appearing watery on abaxial surface in fresh material, glabrous, margin of mature leaves subentire, rarely serrate, seedling leaves serrate, apex rounded to obtuse, rarely emarginate, tapering to petiole 0.5–2.5(–3.5) cm long.
Inflorescences a cymose panicle, 2–10 cm long, peduncle flattened, 1.3–5 cm long, pedicels ca. 2–6 mm long with 2 bracteoles below the middle, these 2–3 mm long. Flowers with 4 calyx lobes, very broadly ovate, 1.5–2 mm long, 2–3 mm wide, margin hyaline and often erose; corolla lobes 6–10, oblong-elliptic, (3–)3.5–4.5 mm long; stamens in pistillate flowers with abortive anthers or perhaps sometimes anthers absent; ovary 10–24-locular, rudimentary in staminate flowers, stigma sessile with 12–24 lines, persistent.
Fruit purplish black, globose, 5–7 mm long, 7–10 mm in diameter.
Seeds semicircular-lunate, laterally compressed, 2–2.8 mm long, 1.5–2.5 mm wide, 1–1.5 mm thick, white with purple tinge.
2n = 80
Ilex anomala is a highly variable species especially in the size of the inflorescence, leaf size and shape, and possibly breeding system (see discussion in Wagner et al. 1990, 1999). Plants in the Marquesas Islands are smaller in stature, (0.3–)3–5 m tall, than the nearly 12 m height it occasionally attains in the Hawaiian Islands. It was formerly considered to be 3 separate species, 1 on each archipelago, but after study of available material from all 3 areas Wagner et al. (1990, 1999) considered it to be 1 variable species. Previously it was considered to be a member of a group (subg. Byronia (Endl.) Loes.) consisting of several species from eastern Polynesia, Malesia, and Australia formerly segregated as the genus Byronia that exhibited a number of “primitive” characters as compared to most of Ilex. However, in a cpDNA phylogentic study it was resolved as part of an otherwise New World clade including North American and South American taxa (Cuénoud et al. 2000).
Nancy Khan