Holly

Ilex aquifolium L.

Synonyms -

Family: Aquifoliaceae

Names:

Other Names:

English Holly.

Summary:

An evergreen, perennial, shrub or tree that tends to be conical in shape. It has glossy, dark, leathery leaves edged with spines. On female plants, small, greenish-white flowers form clusters of red berries which persist until eaten by birds.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

First leaves:

Leaves:

Alternate.
Stipules - Tiny and black.
Petiole - 5-15 mm long. Shorter than blade. Hairless.
Blade - 40-80 mm long x 25-60 mm wide. Dark green, glossy, on top and lighter dull green underneath. Obvious lighter to yellowish veins on top side. Tip pointed and spined. Edges scalloped with each lobe ending in a spine. Surface smooth, leathery, undulating. Base squarish to tapering. Hairless.

Stems:

200- 3000 mm tall x 2.5-30 mm wide.
Green. Older stems may have grey streaks. Erect, single stemmed with many spreading branches above or multiple stems from base that are branched above. Circular in cross section and solid.
Bark smooth on young stems, slightly rough on old stems. Hairless.

Flower head:

Clusters of flowers in leaf axils on stalks 5-14 mm long

Flowers:

Greenish white
Ovary -
Sepals -
Petals - Greenish white,
Stamens -
Anthers -

Fruit:

Green globular berries turning red when ripe. 8-12 mm diameter on a stalk 6-14 mm long. Top has a small 1 mm black hat and 4 grooves at right angles radiating from the tip when ripe.

Seeds:

Small.

Roots:

Taproot.

Key Characters:

Conical shrub or small tree.
Shiny, leathery dark green leaves with small spines.
Red berries

Biology:

Life cycle:

Perennial

Physiology:

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

Winter to spring.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Hybrids:

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by birds.

Origin and History:

Europe, West Africa and the Mediterranean.
Introduced as an ornamental and escaping into the forest by bird spread seeds.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate

Soil:

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Ornamental.

Detrimental:

Weed.
It may invade the understorey of old forests.
Invasive weed of the USA.

Toxicity:

Symptoms:

Treatment:

Legislation:

Management and Control:

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Holly is fairly easily pulled up by hand or with a weed wrench and rarely re shoots. Large plants can be cut off near ground level and the stump painted with glyphosate to prevent regrowth.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Plants of similar appearance:

References:

Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #528.1.

Randall, J.M. and Marinelli, J. (1996) Invasive Plants. (Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Inc. Brooklyn). P57. Photo.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.