Ilex brevicuspis is an evergreen tree with a longish, pyramidal crown; it can grow 10 - 20 metres tall. The bole can be 30 - 60cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild for its leaves, which are sometimes used for making maté, and also for its wood. An ornamental tree, it has potential for use in landscaping[
S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, southern and eastern Brazil, Bolivia.
An understorey tree in Araucaria forest and in the Atlantic rainforest[
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Succeeds in full sun and in moderate shade[
The plant is quite slow-growing[
The leaves are sometimes used in a blend to make maté tea, but it is not generally pleasing to the consumer[
]. The leaves are frequently used as an adulteration of maté[
The heartwood and sapwood are not clearly differentiated and oxidise rapidly after cutting. The wood is thick-textured, straight-grained, moderately heavy, soft, with moderate mechanical properties and very low durability. An easy to work timber, but only used locally for making boxes and boards in general[
]. With its attractive appearance and ease of working with, it has the potential for making wood laminates[
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. Germination can be expected within 30 - 50 days[
]. When the seedlings have 4 - 6 leaves, pot them up into individual containers and they should be ready to plant out about 10 months later[
The seed has a viability in storage of more than 1 year[
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