Ilex dimorphophylla

11 Jan

Ilex dimorphophylla (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex dimorphophylla (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 3m

Eventual Spread: 2m

Hardiness: 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b

Family: Aquifoliaceae

Ilex dimorphophylla is a slow growing evergreen shrub with a rounded habit. Its mid green leathery leaves are ovate with entire margins, up to 4cm long and 3cm broad. Its leaves appear in two forms, smooth edges and spiny margins. Its white/ cream flowers are arranged in cymes. Its fruit is a red drupe and persists on the plant throughout the winter months. Male and female plants must be planted for the female plants to produce berries.

Ilex dimorphophylla Leaf (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex dimorphophylla Leaf (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex dimorphophylla, commonly known as Okinawa Holly, is native to the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. In its native habitat it grows in thickets and mixed forests.

The etymological root of the binomial name Ilex is derived from the old Latin name for the Holly. Dimorphophylla is derived from the Greek di meaning ‘two’, morphus meaning ‘shape’ and phyllon meaning ‘leaf’.

When available the landscape architect may find Ilex dimorphophylla useful as a small evergreen shrub with attractive winter berries. The female plants produce attractive winter berries, it should be noted male specimens should be present for this to occur.

Ilex dimorphophylla Fruit (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ilex dimorphophylla Fruit (07/12/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Ilex dimorphophylla flowers are attractive to pollinating insects. The berries are attractive to some bird species.

Ilex dimorphophylla  prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It will tolerate most pH of soil.

Ilex dimorphophylla requires little maintenance.

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