Ilex opaca

American Holly                                        


Arbor Harbor, 78 Sun Lane, Millersville PA


Len and Pat Eiserer


This tree is among the largest Ameri- can Hollies in Lancaster County and, although not officially measured, may be close to the state champion. The trunk divides at 20 inches high, how- ever, making comparisons difficult.


For reference:  Lancaster's Woodward Hills holly (see separate entry), as mea- sured in 2010, has a trunk circumfer- ence of 84 inches, a height of 47 feet, and a spread of 31 feet -- for a point total of 139 (pabigtrees.com).


The state champion holly at Indian Steps Museum in York County may now be dying back, but in 2018 it mea- sured 90 inches in trunk circumference, 66 feet in height, and 36 feet in spread -- for a point total of 165.  This tree was once estimated to be 300 years old (pabigtrees.com).


The Arbor Harbor tree in 2019 had a trunk circumference of 100 inches (measured 20 inches above ground, before the branching), a height of about 55 feet, and a spread of 36 feet. Its point total would be 164.  


While large, this tree does not ap- proach the above specimens in age. An aerial photograph taken 60 years ago (below) shows the tree to be about 30 years old at most, so it is probably approaching only 90 years old now.


Two smaller but still large hollies grow by this tree.  One of these is single-trunked and has a circumference of 84 inches.


This amazing species is the largest of all 15 native hollies in North America, and is also perhaps the largest among the world's 480 holly species.


[The third photo shows the three hol- lies at Arbor Harbor, with the largest being in the middle.  The last picture is an aerial photo taken in 1959; the holly of present focus is close to the sidewalk and nearest to the center of the house's front.]