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Plants of the UNF Campus

Ilex cornuta - Chinese holly
Family Aquifoliaceae


Approximately 400 holly species are native to the Americas, Europe and Asia, with one species in Africa. The typical Chinese holly is a small evergreen tree that grows to 25 feet tall. Leaves are deeply lobed with sharp spines at the lobe tips. It has been used in the treatment of a variety of ailments in Chinese traditional medicine. In the United States, Chinese holly is a popular, durable landscape plant for sunny and partly shaded sites. 


See plants of various types all around campus. A dwarf cultivar, ‘Rotunda,’ grows at the walk circle northwest of building 1 and on the east side of building 39. Cultivar ‘Dwarf Burford’ is on the south side of parking garage 38. Cultivar ‘Carissa’ has an oval leaf with a sharp point at the tip and can be seen west of buildings 8 and 14. Variety ‘O’Spring’ has variegated leaves and can be found on the east side of building 3.


The wild-type Chinese holly can grow to twenty-five feet tall or more. The commonest plants in Florida are selections that are much shorter and more compact. The cultivars ‘Rotunda’ and ‘Carissa’ grow to three to four feet tall. ‘Dwarf Burford’ and ‘O’Spring’ grow to eight to ten feet tall.

Care Instructions:

Light: full sun to part shade

Water: drought tolerant when established

Soil: very adaptable, no special requirements

Ilex cornuta Ilex cornuta 2