Ilex; half natural size.
Ilex, usually a smaller tree, frequently of rather shrub-like appearance, with abundant glossy dark-green leaves, generally ovate in shape and more or less prickly at the margin, but sometimes with the edges entire; the under surface is hoary; the acorns are oblong on short stalks.
The ilex, also known as the "holm oak" from its resemblance to the holly, abounds in all the Mediterranean countries, showing a partiality for the sea air.
The characteristic cypress, ilex and stone-pine, however, are native trees, the last-named flourishing especially near the coast.
The woods consist chiefly of pine and hazel upon theApennines, and upon the Calabrian, Sicilian and Sardinian mountains of oak, ilex, hornbeam and similar trees.
Such adaptations are well seen in the leaf of the holly (Ilex aquifolium).
The higher mountains rise abruptly from the plains; on their slopes, clothed below almost exclusively with the more tropical forms, a vegetation of a warm temperate character, chiefly evergreen, soon begins to prevail, comprising Magnoliaceae, Ternstroemiaceae, subtropical Rosaceae, rhododendron, oak, Ilex, Symplocos, Lauraceae, Pinus longifolia, with mountain forms of truly tropical orders, palms, Pandanus, Musa, Vitis, Vernonia, and many others.
Quercus Ilex, the evergreen oak of southern Europe, is found in forests as far east as the Sutlej, accompanied with other European forms. In the higher parts of Afghanistan and Persia Boraginaceae and thistles abound; gigantic Umbelliferae, such as Ferula, Galbanum, Dorema, Bubon, Peucedanum, Prangos, and others, also characterize the same districts, and some of them extend into Tibet.
Large tracts of Ilex paraguayensis, from which mate, or Paraguay-tea, is gathered, are found in this same region.
The soil is very fertile; wheat, Indian corn, olives, vines, fruit trees of many kinds cover both the plain and the surrounding hills; the chief non-fruit-bearing trees are the stone pine, the cypress, the ilex and the poplar, while many other varieties are represented.
The great mass of the vegetation, however, is of the low-growing type (maquis or garrigue of the western Mediterranean), with small and stiff leaves, and frequently thorny and aromatic, as for example the ilex (Quercus coccifera), Smilax, Cistus, Lentiscus, Calycotome, &c. (2) Next comes, from 1600 to 6500 ft., the mountain region, which may also be called the forest region, still exhibiting sparse woods and isolated trees wherever shelter, moisture and the inhabitants have permitted their growth.
Professor Macoun gives us a few notable species - Calluna vulgaris, Salisb., Alchemilla vulgaris, L., Rhododendron maximum, L., Ilex glabia, Gray, Hudsonia ericoides, L., Gaylussacia dumosa, F.
When undisturbed by cultivation, the myrtle, arbutus, bay and ilex form a rich brushwood and the minor flora of the island is extensive.
Quercus Ilex - Holm-Oak.
Ilex - Holly.
Yerba mate, classified as Ilex paraguayensis, is a shrub.
A prominent industry is the gathering and preparation of mate or Paraguayan tea (Ilex paraguayensis), which is an article of export.
During the five years 1901-1905 were as follows: - The principal imports comprise live animals, fish, coffee, mate (Ilex paraguayensis), tea, sugar, wood and its manufactures, structural iron and steel, hardware and machinery, railway and telegraph supplies, lime and cement, glass and earthenware, cotton, woollen and silk manufactures, coal,fpetroleum, paints, &c. Import duties are imposed at the rates of 60, 35, 1 5, 5 and 25%, and certain classes of merchandise are admitted free.
On the west coast the ilex, plane, oak, valonia oak, and pine predominate.
A notable further instance of the connexion of the western Himalayan flora with that of Europe is the holm oak (Quercus Ilex), which is characteristic of the Mediterranean region.
(3) The region of indigenous trees, including various species of laurel, an Ardisia, Ilex, Rhamnus, Olea, Myrica, and other trees found wild also at Madeira.