Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’

1 May

Ilex aquifolium 'Ferox Argentea' (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Sun to partial shade (where it may lose its variegation)

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 8m

Eventual Spread: 4m

Hardiness: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a 

Family: Aquifoliaceae

Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ is a slow growing, bushy evergreen shrub. Its waxy dark green leaves are broadly edged creamy/ white, they are up to 10cm long and 6cm and broad spiny on the margins and spiny on the upper surface becoming denser towards the tip. Its young twigs are purple in colour. Its flowers are dioecious, white and four lobed . Its fruit is a red drupe, up to 10mm in diameter, containing four pits, they are quite bitter to taste. 

Ilex aquifolium 'Ferox Argentea' Leaf (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ Leaf (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’, commonly known as the Silver Hedgehog Holly or Hedgehog Holly, was first recorded in 1662 from England.

The etymological root of the binomial name Ilex is derived from the old Latin name for the Holly. Aquifolium is derived from the Latin acus meaning ’needle’ and floium meaning ’leaf’, in reference to the pointed leaves. Ferox is from the Latin means ‘warlike’ alluding to the spiny character of the plant. Argentea is derived from the Latin argentatus meaning ‘adorned with silver’ referring to the colour of the leaves.

Ilex aquifolium 'Ferox Argentea' Flower Buds (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ Flower Buds (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ useful as an unusual specimen shrub or as an effective evergreen barrier hedge.

Ecologically, Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ is attractive to pollinating insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ requires little maintenance.

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