Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)

Yaupon Holly Yaupon is an evergreen shrub or small tree. The small oblong leaves are leathery, one-third to one inch long, round-toothed, and rounded on both ends.

The flowers are borne on the second year's growth. They are small, white and dioecious; that is, the male and female flowers are produced by different plants. The male flowers are more showy than the female.

The flowers are in clusters, and the fruits are attached to the stem individually. The fruits are round, red, and one-fourth inch in diameter and very ornamental.

Of all the species of holly which are native to North America, only yaupon is known to contain caffeine. This is the plant used by the American Indians to make their famous Black Drink. The tender leaves, picked in summer, were parched and then boiled, which was the most effective way of extracting maximum amounts of caffeine.

There is nothing in a tea made from Ilex vomitoria to provoke vomiting. The Indians drank this tea in copious amounts. Drinking hot water in the same manner will produce the same results.