I grew up on in the suburbs of Long Island but have lived in different parts of the Easter US for the last ten years. As a boy, I spent a lot of time playing in the "woods" by my house. The woods are few acres of flood lands that the water table is too low for developers to build there. It is an amazing refuge for birds and native plant species. I have been dreaming about that place for a few years not that I am a wildlife educator, and naturalist, wanting to visit and identify the plants and animals I grew up playing with. I returned at Thanksgiving this year, and found it to be wonderful. I was particularly excited to see great stands of sassafras, blueberries, great oaks, and pitch pines. As I was walking, one tree stood out from the rest. This is the tree I would like help to identify. It is a broad leafed evergreen with lanceolate leaves, that have little hardly noticeable teeth on the sides. The tree stood around 8' tall with a single trunk. The tree had whirled limbs with alternate branching. The bark was smooth and gray. It was at least 30 yards from anyones backyard. Later on my walk, I found another of these trees, and it was at least 50 yards from the first one I had found. The second specimen I had found was shorter but had rougher looking bark. I believe it may have been the older of the two but was shorter because of lack of sunlight in that spot. This specimen too had a single trunk. Do you think this might be a rare native species, common native species, exotic ornamental??? The hummus layer in the woods was only and inch or two, and below is a wet and very sandy soil.
I only took pictures with my cheesy camera phone so I can't post pictures. I can say that it was not an American holly. Not a bad guess but there was no sign of any berries, and did not have those exaggerated pointy teeth. It did not bare any cones either.
After some more research, I have arrived at Ilex coriacea, or tall gallberry holly. Thanks for all the help folks! Here is a great fact page I found about this shrub with some really interesting stuff.