Yaupon Holly (Cassina) TREE/SHRUB

Sale price Price $4.00 Regular price Unit price  per 

Yaupon Holly (Cassina) TREE/SHRUB Ilex vomitoria 

Seeds per pack ~  40 Germination: 98% (Packed for 2023

Did you know there's a holly species native to the US Southeast that makes a tasty tea packing about as much caffeine as coffee? It's called Yaupon (from Yupón, a diminutive form of the Catawban word for tree) and it's the only North American plant containing caffeine. Indigenous people long utilized it, including as part of ceremonies that involved purging — hence the botanical name: Ilex vomitoria.

But contrary to that Latin, it is quite safe to consume and will not cause vomiting. Indeed, yaupon tea, one of many drinks referred to as "black drink", is still enjoyed for both its taste and caffeine content, and it is starting to enjoy something of a renaissance. (Its South American counterpart, a holly called Ilex paraguariensis, is already very popular the world over under its traditional name, Yerba Mate.)

Yaupon's natural range extends from Texas to Florida along the Gulf coast, and north to coastal Virginia along the Atlantic. There are disjunct populations in Arkansas and — surprisingly — in the state of Chiapas in far southern Mexico. It seems highly plausible that humans expanded its range intentionally long ago. Today it is most typically grown as an ornamental plant for its evergreen foliage & long-lasting bright red berries.