UT Hollies

The Elmore Holly Collection at the University of Tennessee Arboretum in Oak Ridge features more than 200 specimens of the popular yuletide evergreen. Photo by P. McDaniels.


For some the joy of the holiday season can be found amongst the hustle and bustle of the mall or town square, but others find the peace of the outdoors more to their liking. If you’re looking for a peaceful refuge, consider taking a day trip to see a seasonal favorite decked out for the holidays in its natural setting. The University of Tennessee Arboretum in Oak Ridge includes a holly collection of more than 200 specimens of the popular yuletide evergreen.

Complete with its seasonal display of bright red berries, the Elmore Holly Collection at the UT Arboretum is recognized by the Holly Society of America as one of 21 holly arboreta and experimental test centers. The collection was named in honor of the nationally recognized holly expert Harold Lane Elmore, who, before his death in 2002, was a former president of both the Holly Society of America and the UT Arboretum Society.

“The holly collection is a beautiful place to visit during the holidays or anytime,” says Kevin Hoyt, director of the arboretum and UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center. “This time of year it puts on quite a display. It’s also a great spot to get a short, quiet respite from the season’s hustle and bustle.”

Hoyt also recommends the holly collection as a useful resource for those who are thinking about planting their own hollies and who want to compare cultivar characteristics. He notes that the UT Arboretum Society Holly Task Force, recently held their fall workday to get the collection in tip-top shape for the holiday season.

The collection is located along the Arboretum’s main road near one of the 10 self-guided walking trails at the UT Arboretum. The arboretum is a 250 acre research and education facility that boasts more than 2,500 native and exotic woody plant specimens representing some 800 species, varieties and cultivars. As many as 32,000 people annually enjoy the walking trails and plant collections, which are free to tour.


The UT Arboretum, including the holly collection, is open to the public year round during daylight hours. You might spot some wildlife while visiting, but Hoyt says you should not expect to see reindeer.    

For more information visit the arboretum online: http://forestry.tennessee.edu/arboretum/  

The UT Arboretum is a project of the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center. In addition to its AgResearch programs, the UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.

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Contact:

Dr. Kevin Hoyt, UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center, 865-483-3571

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