A genus of trees and shrubs in which the leaves are leathery, and mostly evergreen. The flowers are usually tetramerous. The fruit is a berry. The genus includes ornamentals (holly is mainly I. aquifolium) and the source of yerba maté, a tea-like infusion from the leaves of I. paraguariensis. Several have close-grained, white timber. There are about 400 species. Their distribution is cosmopolitan, but they are absent from N. America.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.