Ilex ambigua is a species of flowering plant in the holly family known by the common names Carolina holly and sand holly. It is native to the southeastern and south-central United States, along the coastal plain from North Carolina to Texas, inland as far as Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
Ilex ambigua is a large shrub or small tree up to 6 metres (20 ft) tall. The branches are covered in shiny dark brown or black bark which becomes flaky with age. The twigs are purple. Some branches have a thick coat of fine hairs. The leaves are up to 18 centimeters (7.2 inches) long by 7 cm (2.8 inches) wide. The leaf margins are partially or entirely toothed or wavy. The species is dioecious, with male and female reproductive parts occurring on separate individuals. The fruit is a spherical red drupe. The seeds are dispersed by animals, which eat the fruits.