Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’

15 Dec

Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii' (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to shade

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 8m

Eventual Spread: 8m

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

Family: Aquifoliaceae

Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ is an evergreen shrub with a bushy habit. This variety of Holly is self fertile and does not require a male plant to produce berries. Its dark green glossy leaves are elliptical with entire margins, usually without spines and up to 7cm long. Its bark is smooth and grey. Its fragrant white flowers are four petaled and up to 8mm across. Its fruit are red rounded drupes, up to 12mm across, these persist on the shrub throughout the winter months.

Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii' Leaf (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ Leaf (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

The species Ilex cornuta, commonly known as Chinese Holly or Horned Holly, is native to eastern China and Korea. Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ is commonly known as Burford Holly.

The etymological root of the binomial name Ilex is derived from the old Latin name for the Holly. Cornuta is derived from the Latin corni meaning ‘horned’, in reference to the shape of the leaves of the species.

The landscape architect may find Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ useful as an attractive evergreen specimen shrub. It is a self fertile Holly which is suitable for shady locations. It may be maintained as an effective hedge. Once established it is drought tolerant. This shrub is not attractive to deer or rabbits.

Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii' Berries (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ Berries (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ flowers are attractive to pollinating insects. Its fruit are attractive to some bird species.

Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil although it prefers a slightly acidic pH.

Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’ requires little maintenance. If maintaining as a hedge it should be cut in late autumn to early spring. If necessary it may also be cut in mid summer, but winter berries may be lost.

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