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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ilex aquifolium 'Argentea Marginata' - Variegated Holly

The variegated holly is a wonderful addition to our evergreen dominated urban tree canopy. Growing slightly more rounded than the species, they will reach 30+ feet and form a broad, dense pyramidal shape. While this may appear to be multiple plants it is only one, with multiple leaders. They are often pruned formally, though they do grow that way naturally. I think my favorite variegated holly is the Hedgehog Holly. If you are going to have spines then really have spines.



Foliage is evergreen, simple, alternately arranged, elliptical, 2-3" long, dark glossy green in the center of the leaf, margins yellowish-white (silver?), slightly undulated, with or without spines. Fewer spines on slower growing branches. Very attractive year round, especially with the fruit. New foliage in spring should be somewhat pink.



Flowers are dioecious, all females on this tree. Small white in short clusters, in the spring. You may not notice them.

Fruit is a red berry like drupe about 3/8", can't say round because they are somewhat elliptical though the ends are not pointed.



Stems are green as you can see in the picture above.

Trunks are smooth, gray to silver colored. The canopy can be so dense you might not see the bark.


Misidentification:
Assuming you are looking at a variegated holly, and the margins are yellowish you could be looking at one of a dozen cultivars. I am basing my identification on the most likely candidate to have been planted due to availability in the nursery trade. I am always up for  being corrected, so if you think I am wrong, let me know, it won't be the first time.

Location:
Aptos
204 Appleton Dr
248 Moosehead Dr.

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