Ilex aquifolium L.

English Holly

Sp. Pl. 125 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Evergreen shrub or small tree to 10 m high, glabrous except for pubescent new growth and inflorescences; bark pale grey. Leaves ovate, elliptic or oblong, 3–10 cm long, 2.5–5 cm wide, apex acute, spine-tipped, margins undulate, spinose-dentate, sometimes entire on old trees, coriaceous, dark green and shiny above, paler and dull below; petiole 5–15 mm long, grooved. Cymes 3-flowered, clustered in axillary fascicles, rarely female flowers solitary; pedicels to c. 3 mm long. Flowers dull white or pinkish, fragrant; sepals triangular-ovate, c. 1.5 mm long, free in upper half; petals elliptic, 2–5 mm long; stamens half as long as petals; anthers c. 1.5 mm long. Drupe ovoid or globose, 7–10 mm long, 6–10 mm diam., bright red; pyrenes usually 4–5, ribbed. Flowers mostly late spring–summer.

*CVU, *EGL, *GipP, *HNF, *HSF, *MonT, *Strz, *VAlp, *VVP. Also naturalised SA, NSW. Native of Europe. A popular garden ornamental becoming established in a few cooler, higher rainfall parts of the State. It is a troublesome weed in the Dandenong Ranges and near Mt Donna Buang to the east of Melbourne.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Aquifoliaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Daniel Ohlsen, 2017-06-15
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Aquifoliales
family Aquifoliaceae
genus Ilex
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Ilex aquifolium in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Ilex aquifolium in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised
Monaro Tablelands present naturalised
Victorian Alps present introduced

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory