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Ilex


This genus of Aquifoliaceae is one of the most important the gardener has to deal with, as it contains a number of the very best evergreen trees and shrubs we have, the best known species being Ilex Aquifolium, the Common Holly. In addition to the evergreen species there is a set with deciduous leaves, which is sometimes met with under the name of Prinos. These species are not so useful as the evergreens, though when well berried they are showy. Hollies, as a rule, like rich soil, though they are not fastidious, as they thrive in heavy or light loam and peat.

To enumerate all the uses to which Hollies can be put would take a considerable time; a few, however, suggest themselves, such as specimen trees or shrubs, closely clipped or otherwise, ornamental groups in the garden, , undergrowth in woods or for hedges. Few plants stand clipping better, hence their value for the latter purpose.

The season of planting requires consideration, for when moved without large balls of soil they start badly if planted in the wrong season. The correct time is April, May, or September. The species can be increased by means of seeds, the varieties by cuttings, or by grafting or budding on stocks of the Common Holly.

A selection of varieties is given below.

Ilex A. angustif olia, narrow leaved; argentea marginata, silver margined; a. medio-picta, Silver Milkmaid; a. pendula, Perry's Weeping; a. regina Silver Queen; aurea medio­picta, Golden Milkmaid; a. regina Golden Queen; camelliae­folia, grand olive green, almost spineless leaves; Donning­tonensis, long, narrow leaves ; ferox, Hedgehog Holly; fructuluteo, Golden Fruited; Hodginsii, very large oval leaves; ovata, small rounded leaves ; Watereriana, golden variegated, compact habit.

Other species are:

Ilex cornuta, a curious Chinese species - with three spined leaves.

Ilex crenata, a dwarf shrub 3 or 4 feet high with tiny leaves.

Ilex dipyrena, a handsome Himalayan plant with entire evergreen foliage, known as the Himalayan Holly.

Ilex integra, an evergreen from China and Japan, with entire, spineless leaves.

Ilex opaca, the American Holly. This is from the eastern United States, and is something like our Common Holly.