Ilex crenata

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Ilex crenata
Ilex crenata

Japanese Holly
Binomial:Ilex crenata

Ilex crenata (Japanese Holly or Box-leaved Holly (Japanese: イヌツゲ inutsuge) is an evergreen shrub native to eastern China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Sakhalin.[1] Japanese Holly is grown as an ornamental plant for its dense evergreen foliage. It is superficially similar in appearance to box (Buxus), and is often used in similar situations; it can readily be distinguished from box by its alternate, not opposite, leaf arrangement.

Description[edit | edit source]

It is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to a height of 3–5 m (rarely 10 m) tall, with a trunk diameter up to 20 cm. The leaves are glossy dark green, small, 10–30 mm long and 10–17 mm broad, with a crenate margin, sometimes spiny. The flowers are dioecious, white, four-lobed. The fruit is a black drupe 5 mm diameter, containing four seeds. It grows well in acidic soil, between a pH of 3.7 and 6.0.[2][3][4]

Cultivation[edit | edit source]

Ilex crenata edging parterre beds in an English garden

Growing Conditions[edit | edit source]

Grows best in part shade, but tolerates both deep shade (where it will have a looser habit) and full sun (though it can be susceptible to spider mites if in an exposed location). Like most hollies it prefers a deep, humus-rich, well-drained soil.

Varieties[edit | edit source]

Numerous cultivars have been selected, including plants with the leaves variegated (e.g. 'Golden Gem', 'Shiro-Fukurin'), dark green (e.g. 'Green Lustre'), or greyish-green (e.g. 'Bad Zwischenahn'); with yellow fruit (e.g. 'Ivory Hall'); and with the habit erect (e.g. 'Chesapeake'), spreading (e.g. 'Green Island', 'Hetzii'), or dwarf (e.g. 'Mariesii', 'Stokes').[4]

Uses[edit | edit source]

Often grown as hedges or topiaries.

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

Tolerates severe pruning and even coppicing.

Propagation[edit | edit source]

Cultivars generally propagated through cuttings.

Pests and Diseases[edit | edit source]

See Ilex for a list of pests and diseases affecting the genus.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Germplasm Resources Information Network: Ilex crenata
  2. Osaka hundred trees: Ilex crenata (in Japanese; google translation)
  3. Okayama Science University: Ilex crenata (in Japanese; google translation)
  4. a b Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.