Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Ilex aquifolium

Higher Taxonomy
Family: AquifoliaceaeView Description 
Habit: Shrub, tree, evergreen [deciduous]; dioecious or +- so. Leaf: generally alternate, simple, often spiny, toothed, or lobed. Inflorescence: generally cyme, generally axillary. Flower: generally unisexual, radial; sepals generally 4, generally fused at base; petals 4, fused at base [free], white [green]; stamens generally 4, generally alternate petals; ovary superior, chambers often 4, generally 1-ovuled, style 0 or terminal, short, stigma head-like or lobed. Fruit: drupe, generally red [purple to black or yellow to +- white]; stones generally 4.
Genera In Family: 4 genera, 300--400 species: tropics, temperate.
eFlora Treatment Author: Elizabeth McClintock
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: IlexView Description 

Common Name: HOLLY
Leaf: petioled; adaxially generally shiny. Flower: sepals persistent in fruit; petals oblong or obovate. Fruit: pulpy.
Species In Genus: 300--400 species: especially tropics. Etymology: (Latin: name for Medit holly-oak, Quercus ilex L.) Note: Ilex cornuta Lindl. & Paxton occasionally persisting from cultivation.
Reference: Zika 2010 Madroño 57:1--10
Ilex aquifolium L.
Habit: Shrub, tree, < 20 m. Stem: erect; branches many, branchlets minutely hairy. Leaf: 2.5--6 cm, ovate or oblong-ovate, entire to lobed, even on 1 pl, teeth 0 or widely spaced, stiff, spine-like. Flower: petals 2--3 mm, dull white. Fruit: 7--8 mm wide, smooth.
Ecology: Cool, wooded areas; Elevation: < 200 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, KR?, NCoRO, CCo, SnFrB, expected elsewhere; Distribution Outside California: native to Europe, western Asia. Flowering Time: May--Jun Note: Cult since ancient time for showy fruit.
Jepson eFlora Author: Elizabeth McClintock
Reference: Zika 2010 Madroño 57:1--10
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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Citation for this treatment: Elizabeth McClintock 2012, Ilex aquifolium, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 11, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 11, 2021.

Ilex aquifolium
click for enlargement
© 2010 Vernon Smith

More photos of Ilex aquifolium in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Ilex aquifolium:
NCo, KR?, NCoRO, CCo, SnFrB, expected elsewhere
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).