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General: Holly family (Aquifoliaceae). Native, open evergreen shrubs, commonly growing 1.5-2(-3) meters tall, with numerous sprouts from thick, heavy, tuberous rhizomes, forming clusters and extensive, dense, colonial thickets. Leaves are alternate, simple, entire or finely toothed toward the tip, obovate to oblong or elliptic, 2.5-6.5 cm long, evergreen, leathery, shiny and dark green above, lighter and dull beneath. Flowers are either staminate (male) or pistillate (female), borne on separate plants (the species dioecious); individual flowers small, greenish-white and inconspicuous, the staminate 3-7 in short-stalked clusters, the pistillate solitary in leaf axils. Fruit is 5-7 mm in diameter, nearly black, shiny; seeds (pyrenes) 5-7, smooth. The common name is in reference to the dark blue-black fruits.