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Peruy Holly – Ilex pernyi

 

Glossy evergreen leaves and bright red berries in fall and winter are among the ornamental merits of this evergreen holly from central and western China. It grows slowly into a shrub or small tree of open irregular habit.

Attractive year round, the spiny, squarish to triangular, glossy dark green leaves crowd the gray, sparsely branched stems. In mid to late spring, light yellow flowers cluster at the bases of the leaves, attracting bees for pollination. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants, If a male plant is nearby, female plants bear numerous small, pea-sized fruits that flush bright red by early fall. The fruits persist until late winter, if spared by the birds.

Habitat: sun to partial shade; well-drained soil. It may be pruned as a shrub or allowed to assume its natural form as a small tree. Use it as an accent in a mixed border or woodland planting. Its berry-laden stems are ideal for holiday decorations such as garlands and wreaths.

 

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