Ilex mitis, the African holly or without (white wood) in Afrikaans, is a medium to large tree of the South African south coast and easterly regions (SA Tree List No. 397). The tree is widely represented in Africa, growing as far north as Ethiopia and in West Africa. The habitat is mainly riverine forest, sometimes open woodland.
The leaves of Ilex mitis are spirally arranged, elliptic, shiny and hairless. The midrib is conspicuous while the regular loops of the lateral veins are distinctive. The leaf apex may taper or be rounded with a hair-like tip.
The flowers are white and fragrant, growing in small axillary panicles. The sexes are represented by separate trees (dioecious).
The fruit is an edible, spherical berry, still green in this picture, but ripening to a shiny crimson by autumn or winter. The fruit attract birds.
The white wood, a good timber, gave rise to the Afrikaans common name (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002).