Hi, Dr. Hill,
I came across this small evergreen plant in semi-shaded woods in the SC Fall Line region. I’m hoping you can identify it for me. Thank you in advance.
you have what appears to be a young sapling of the commonly grown Photinia ‘red tip’. They can escape in the area. More about this plant can be found at this Clemson site: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/shrubs/hgic1081.html
A similar escapee is also found now and again – Prunus laurocerasus – Carolina laurel cherry. Both are in the rose family.
Some might think this is a holly – Ilex – but there are too many spines along the leaf margins and the red buds are not right for that genus.
Steve Hill, Botanist, SCNPS