Plantae>Magnoliophyta>Magnoliopsida>Celastrales>Aquifoliaceae>Ilex cornuta Lindley
Chinese Holly is an abundantly planted large shrub or small tree. It is a fairly common escape from cultivation in North Carolina. The glossy leaves are coriaceous, evergreen, and prickly like those of American Holly, but have a unique shape -- the central spine points down, while the next two point up like horns (hence the name cornuta, which means horned). Many of the planted Chinese Hollies lack these horns.
The foliage is usually very dense, making an impenetrable hedge.
Chapel Hill, NC 7/17/05.
The yellowish-white flowers grow in dense clusters. These are staminate (male) flowers.
Durham, NC 4/4/07.
Detail of pistillate (female) flowers.
Chapel Hill, NC 4/18/04.
The bark is smooth, like that of other hollies.
Virginia Tech Dendrology
All photographs and text ©2011 by Will Cook unless otherwise indicated