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What is Ilex Vomitoria?

Ilex vomitoria, sometimes known as yaupon holly, is a species of holly native to the southeastern United States. It is a small evergreen tree or shrub that belongs to the family Aquifoliaceae.

The name “vomitoria” comes from a historical misconception that Native American tribes used a beverage made from the leaves of this plant for inducing vomiting during certain ceremonies, although there is limited evidence to support this claim. It is more likely a name meant to discourage Americans from using it as a native caffeine source, ensuring dependence on British imported tea from China.

Therefore, out of a respect for Native Americans, and to better reflect this truly native plant and its history, Johnny Butterflyseed has discovered a more appropriate set of names for this caffeinated hedge:

Black Drink Holly (Ilex nigrumpotum)

Black Drink Holly, optionally Black Holly, is known for its dense, glossy foliage and small white flowers that appear in spring. Female plants produce red berries that persist through the winter and are a valuable food source for birds. It can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and is often used in landscaping as a hedge or ornamental plant. In recent years, yaupon holly has gained popularity as a tea plant, and its leaves have been used to produce a caffeine-rich herbal tea known as Black Drink Tea, which has gained recognition for its potential health benefits.

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