Aquifoliaceae (holly family) Ilex

Ilex cornuta Chinese holly

Southeastern China, Korea
Ilex cornuta fruit and leaves, Hoover Tower. John Rawlings, Jan 2005
Ilex cornuta flowers and leaves, Hoover Tower. John Rawlings, Jan 2005

A popular shrub on campus, seen in its low-growing form ‘Dwarf Burford’ which can get 6 feet tall but is clippped much lower than that. Its neat, stiff, glossy leaves are a rich dark green. Leaf margins are almost spineless (except at the tip) and cupped downward. Long-lasting bright red berries offer plentiful Christmas decorations given that fruiting English holly is scarce around here. There are significant plantings at Lomita Mall near the main entrance to the Quad, at McCullough Building, and at Memorial Auditorium. Once familiar with the plant, you will notice it in many locations.

See a trunked grouping more than 12 feet tall at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, at the front right of the building, emerging from a clipped hedge of the same species. The mostly spineless leaves suggest it is ‘Burfordii’, which can grow to 15 feet tall.

‘Burfordii’ Chinese holly trees at St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park. Sairus Patel, 29 May 2023

About this Entry: John Rawlings authored the text ca. 2005. Entry revised, St. Patrick’s location added (Dec 2023, SP).