Ilex opaca

American Holly                                


Lancaster Cemetery, 205 E. Lemon Street, Lancaster PA (near entrance)


David B. Landis, Jerry Smoker, Len Eiserer

David Bachman Landis (1862-1940) was a prominent Lancaster photo- grapher, printer, postcard publisher, historian, poet, essayist, and bicycle enthusiast.  In 1909, Landis took a photo of the obelisk in Lancaster Cemetery that memorializes Civil War General John F. Reynolds (first photo). The photograph captured not only the obelisk but numerous trees as well.  


A comparable photograph in 2018 (second photo) shows that the large tree in the foreground no longer exists, but the tree on the far right is an American Holly that still thrives today.


Ilex opaca is a slow-growing species, and the tree in the Landis photograph might have been 30 or 40 years old in the 1909 photograph.  This would put the tree at about 140-150 years of age now.


Related comments come from Lan- caster Cemetery spokesperson Jerry Smoker: "John Reynolds was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.  So it is possible that the holly is 155 to 156 years old.  I've seen the (Landis photo) and the holly is in the same place. Seeing how it was placed within the confines of the granite wall, I'm con- fident that it was planted by the Rey- nolds family."