American Holly (Ilex opaca) American Holly wood is white or greyish white and generally featureless though sometimes with greenish streaks. It is much denser than that of any other native hardwood. Like boxwood, it is used for carving, inlaying and woodcuts. Indistinct, close grain with no obvious figure and a fine texture. Ivory-white heartwood and white sapwood - sapwood usually much wider than the heartwood. Sands and turns easily and polishes to a fine luster. Glues, screws, and nails well. Stains and finishes satisfactorily - sometimes stained black to simulate ebony.Note: Small tight knots and blue/grey surface staining are not considered defects in holly.