I'm wondering what type of Ilex specie this is as it isn't quite clear what type?

The origin was NL (Netherlands).

I brought it from a shop.



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2 Answers 2


Only female plants produce berries - except for the cultivars 'J. C van Tol' and 'Pyramidalis' which are self fertile and do produce berries without the need for a male plant in the vicinity. The only way to know if a particular one is female or male when buying a plant is by its varietal name. In respect of the one you have, unfortunately, there are several cultivars of Ilex with variegated leaves; some are male and some are female. If yours produces red berries, at least you know it's a female plant, but if it does not, there's no way of knowing whether its male or female.


Now you've added a photo, I understand why you didn't know whether you'd got Buxus or Ilex - your plant appears to be Ilex crenata, commonly known as Japanese or Box holly, which really looks nothing like many other varieties of holly. This plant is now being used as a substitute for Box because of the many problems Box is having these days. I don't know which particular cultivar yours is, there are several - they produce black berries (female plants only), are slow growing and good for topiary and low hedging. They do vary in ultimate height and spread, depending on the cultivar - yours looks not dissimilar from Ilex crenata 'Nummularia' or I. crenata 'Conners'. Some info here, though it is for a particular variety of this plant, but general care will be similar https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/325173/Ilex-crenata-Dark-Green-Icoprins11-(PBR)/Details


Yes it can be used instead of Box for hedging - because it's slow growing, it's best to clip back in June, then another tiny clip in August just to remove any longer growths. Info on this plant as hedging here https://www.ashridgetrees.co.uk/ilex-crenata-convexa-japanese-holly?gclid=Cj0KCQiA2ITuBRDkARIsAMK9Q7PZXuHU3LnrgRnYPu6HZAkNDfFCYt1gMh0GaCqIIL3w7AoiYpLKCgUaAnn2EALw_wcB

  • What time of year would the ilex plant produce berries?
    – T.E
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 18:37
  • Late summer/autumn, so they should be visible now in the UK - unless you pruned it during summer
    – Bamboo
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 18:47
  • Can an Ilex get diseases?
    – T.E
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 18:57
  • Well any plant can get some diseases, but generally, no, they're not particularly prone to anything.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 19:15
  • What is the easiest way to find out what the species is as I can't find my one on the internet?
    – T.E
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 19:24

It depends:

In general all plants will produce seeds, so fruits.

But (some) Ilex are dioecious, so only females will produce berries, but only if there is nearby pollen (so a male Ilex plant). Note: all plants should produce flowers.

But some cultivars may not produce berries: they are no more fertile (but because they are human made, and human cultivated, this is not a survival problem).

  • How do you tell if a certain one does or not?
    – T.E
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 16:40
  • @T.E Apart from obvious signs (e.g. golden or variegated leaves) is it almost impossible to identify either the cultivar, or whether an individual plant is male or female. But most holly trees behave in a consistent way, so if a mature tree is or is not producing berries it will do the same every year.
    – alephzero
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 16:51
  • On late winter, beginning spring you can do a photo of the flowers (sevaral), and we can help you to see if it is a male or a female (or some case of non-fertile flowers). Note: Ilex growth very slow, so contrary of @alephzero comment, you may need several years to see flowers and berries (on seedlings/small trees), but if the three is large, and you didn't have very extreme weather, you should see many berries. Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 19:29
  • What is the easiest way to find out what the species is as I can't find my one on the internet?
    – T.E
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 19:54
  • @T.E: what it is the origin of your species? Did you find in wild? Did you bought it? It was already planted on your garden? Could you add some photo to your question? And as always (in Botanics), you may never discover the real species (in nature, and especially on cultivated plants, there are many case of "mixed species" [hybrids, but also forms, varieties, and populations which are different to described species] Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 20:08

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