Ilex affinis is an evergreen tree with a dense, elongate crown; it can grow 4 - 8 metres tall. The straight, more or less cylindrical bole can be 30 - 45cm in diameter[
The plant is harvested from the wild for its leaves, which can be used medicinally and to make a tea. It is also a source of wood for local use.
S. America - Paraguay, central and eastern Brazil, Bolivia.
Rainforest, mainly in dense primary formations, favouring well-drained, moderately fertile sandy to clayey soils[
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Grows best in a position with moderate shade[
]. Requires a well-drained soil, succeeding in sandy to clayey soils of medium fertility[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
The leaves are used to make a refreshing tea[
]. They can be used as a substitute for Maté (Ilex paraguariensis) or as an adulterant for it[
The leaves are laxative[
The wood is fine-textured, straight-grained, moderately heavy, with moderate mechanical properties, not durable. It is only used locally, for purposes such as rural constructions, tool handles and simple furniture[
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing. Sow the seed in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed. A low germination rate can usually be expected, with the seed sprouting within 90 - 150 days[
]. When the seedlings are 5 - 6cm tall, pot them up into individual containers[
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