Ilex crenata
Common name: 
Japanese Holly
I-leks kre-NAH-ta
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf evergreen shrub, 5-8 ft (1.5-2.5 m); except for true species, usually seen as a much branched shrub with a dense, rigid compact form. Stem normally green on currents season's growth.  Leaves alternate, simple, crowded, short-stalked, elliptic to oblong-lanceolate, 13-32 mm long, 6-16 mm wide, crenate-serrulate or serrulate, dark green above, dotted beneath with blackish clear or translucent glands.  Dioecious - male and female plants; flowers small, 4-parted, white.  Fruit glossy black, globose, 6 mm diam.
  • Sun to part shade.  Prefers light, moist, slightly acid soils.   Withstands severe pruning.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (5) 6      Native to Japan, Korea.
  • crenata: with shallow, rounded teeth, the leaves
  • There are many cultivars, possibly 60 in the nursery trade, including:
    • ‘Convexa’  -  leaves roundish, convex above and concave below, female
    • ‘Dwarf Pagoda’ - very compact, dense, rounded, irregular horizontal branching, small leaves
    • ‘Green Island’  -  open shrub, wider than tall, glossy leaves, male
    • ‘Helleri’ - dwarf, low growing, mounded, wider than high
    • 'Lemon Gem' - form like '‘Helleri'’, but new leave yellow in spring then turning to lime green in summer
    • ‘Northern Beauty’  -  hardy compact shrub, glossy dark green leaves, male
    • ‘Sky Pencil’ - very narrow, pole-shaped, to 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m), leaves glossy
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: southeast corner of East Greenhouse, next to Buxus sempervirens.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, hedge

    plant habit, hedge

  • leafy shoot

    leafy shoot

  • leaves


  • leaves and flowers

    leaves and flowers

  • leafy shoots, comparison

    leafy shoots, comparison