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English holly

Botanical Name:

Ilex aquifolium

Common Name:

English holly,European Holly,Holly,American Holly,Common Holly,Inkberry,Oregon Holly,Winterberry

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Description

European holly foliage with berries   European holly flowers; male above, female below (leaves cut to show flowers more clearly) Ilex aquifolium grows to 10–25 m (33–82 ft) tall with a woody stem as wide as 40–80 cm (16–31 in), rarely 100 cm (39 in) or more, in diameter. The leaves are 5–12 cm long and 2–6 cm broad; they are evergreen, lasting about five years, and are dark green on the upper surface and lighter on the underside, oval, leathery, shiny, and about 5 to 9 cm long. In the young and in the lower limbs of mature trees, the leaves have three to five sharp spines on each side, pointing alternately upward and downward, while leaves of the upper branches in mature trees lack spines.The flowers are white, four-lobed, and pollinated by bees. Holly is dioecious, meaning that there are male plants and female plants. The sex cannot be determined until the plants begin flowering, usually between 4 and 12 years of age. In male specimens, the flowers are yellowish and appear in axillary groups. In the female, flowers are isolated or in groups of three and are small and white or slightly pink, and consist of four petals and four sepals partially fused at the base. The fruit only appears on female plants, which require male plants nearby to fertilise them. The fruit is a drupe (stone fruit), about 6–10 mm in diameter, a bright red or bright yellow, which matures around October or November; at this time they are very bitter due to the ilicin content and so are rarely eaten until late winter after frost has made them softer and more palatable. They are eaten by rodents, birds and larger herbivores. Each fruit contains 3 to 4 seeds which do not germinate until the second or third spring.

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Taxonomy

Order

Celastrales

Family

Aquifoliaceae

Genus

Ilex

Characteristics

Bloom Time

Late spring or early summer, Summer, Spring

Plant Type

Shrub, Tree

Lifespan

Woody

Flower

Insignificant greenish-white fragrant flowers. Need to plant male and female plants.

Fruit

Red, yellow, or orange berries (drupes) 1/4 inch diameter that ripen in fall, persist into winter and are attractive to birds

How to Grow

Water

Mesic, Dry Mesic

Sunlight

Full Sun to Partial Shade, Partial or Dappled Shade, Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day), Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)

Benefits
Attracts

Bees

Birds

Butterflies

Pollinators

Songbirds

Specialized Bees

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