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English Holly

Species
Ilex aquifolium

English holly was intentionally introduced to North America from Europe. It is a popular garden ornamental and grown commercially by holly farms to supply the Christmas trade, florists and decorators. English holly is a small to large (7-10 m tall), shade-tolerant, evergreen shrub/small tree bearing distinctive glossy, spiny, dark-green evergreen foliage and (on female trees) bright red berries. 

How does it spread?
English holly is spread by bird-dispersed seed and by the suckering and layering of roots. 

Where would I find it?
English holly prefers shade or sun, well-drained soils and thrives in mixed deciduous and coniferous forests, wetland edges, residential areas and disturbed lowland areas mostly throughout the Pacific Northwest and South Coast of BC.

What problems does it cause?
English holly grows rapidly, casting deep shade that deprives native plants of light, and holly roots effectively out-compete many natives for nutrients and water. English holly seed and roots can spread into undisturbed forests, establishing dense, prickly colonies, that not only negatively impact native species but also human recreational activities.

Additional Recommendations

  • Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) (z7) 
  • Burkwood Osmanthus (Osmanthus x burkwoodii) (z6) 

A provincial initiative coordinated by ISCBC

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