Ilex ciliospinosa
Common Name: holly 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Native Range: Western China
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Pale yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Part afternoon shade is best in hot summer climates. Thrives in sandy loams. Avoid poorly drained soils. Prune in winter if needed. Plants of this species are dioecious (separate male and female plants). Female plants need a male pollinator in order to bear fruit.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ilex ciliospinosa is a pyramidal, broad-leaf evergreen holly that typically grows as a large shrub or short tree to 15-20' tall. It is native to mixed forests on mountain slopes and roadsides in central and western China. Simple, dull, evergreen, elliptic leaves (to 2" long) have serrated margins. Tiny, pale yellow flowers bloom in spring (April-May). Pollinated flowers give way to bright red fruits (drupes to 1/3" long) which ripen in fall. Birds are attracted to the fruit.

Genus name comes from the Latin name Quercus ilex for holm oak in reference to the foliage similarities (holm oak and many of the shrubs in the genus Ilex have evergreen leaves).


Potential insect problems include holly leaf miner, spider mites, whitefly and scale. Potential disease problems include leaf spot, leaf rot, tar spot and powdery mildew. Plants are also susceptible to leaf drop, leaf scorch and chlorosis (yellowing of leaves in high pH soils).


Tall hedge or screen. Foliage and fruit provide good color for the winter landscape.