Common Name: English holly
Origin/Ecology: Native to western and southern Europe, North Africa, western Asia
Habit: Erect, pyramidal, densely-branched, evergreen tree that typically grows to 30-50′ (less frequently to 80′) tall. Can be trained and grown as a large shrub (10-15′ tall).
Leaves: Elliptic, leathery, glossy, wavy-margined, evergreen, dark green leaves (1-3″ long) have large spiny teeth.
Leaf Arrangement: alternate
Flowers and Fruit: Greenish-white flowers appear in May. Flowers are fragrant but generally inconspicuous. Pollinated flowers give way to berry-like red (less frequently orange or yellow) drupes (1/4″ diameter) which ripen in fall and persist into winter. Birds are attracted to the fruit. Female plants need male pollinator for bearing fruit.
Water Use, Soil: Average, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Avoid poorly drained soils.
Exposure: Full sun to part shade. Best in locations protected from cold winter winds. Part afternoon shade is best in hot summer climates.
Landscape Uses: Ornamental tree, specimen or small groups, foundation plantings, winter colour, tall hedge.
Limitations: Holly leaf miner, spider mites, whitefly and scale. Leaf spot, leaf rot, tar spot, powdery mildew, leaf drop, leaf scorch, chlorosis.
Other Features: Invasive species. Tolerates shade, forms thickets in woodlands. Originally a cash crop for Xmas.