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Ilex aquifolium - Common Holly

Ilex aquifolium is one of Britain's few native evergreen trees. Commonly associated with Christmas, it has distinctive leaves and bright red berries which provide year round interest.

Holly is a dioecious species meaning it has separate male and female plants. White flowers appear in May and pollination is generally carried out by bees and other insects. The berries emerge on female plants around November, ripening red and providing a good source of food for birds (if not used for Christmas decorations first). The leaves are about 5-8cm long, dark glossy green and leathery. On the lower parts of the plant they have spines along the margin pointing upwards and downwards alternately. The foliage on the upper limbs of the plant, above grazing level, are usually smoother.

Ilex aquifolium is a slow growing shrub or small tree, rarely exceeding 10m, although in few circumstances has been known to reach 20m. This plant is able to adapt to different conditions, will grow on almost any well drained soil, and is extremely tolerant of shady conditions.

At Deepdale Trees, we are also offering other varieties of holly, including Ilex Nellie Stevens and Ilex aquifolium Variegata. Ilex Nellie Stevens is an exceptionally nice female clone with smooth dark glossy leaves and orange/red berries. This variety makes a particularly good standard tree.

Plant Profile

Height: up to 10m

Demands: Will grow in almost any condition. Avoid heavy clay as can cause frost damage

Foliage: Evergreen. Distinctive spiky leaves, thick, dark green and glossy.

Flower: Inconspicuous white flowers on both male and female plants

Fruit: Red berries from November to spring

Ilex aquifolium info sheet

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