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Common Name:

Chinese Holly

Scientific Name:

Ilex cornuta

Family Name:



Ilex cornuta is seldom represented in the trade by the species type, but rather by several of the popular cultivars. Burford, Dwarf Burford, Needlepoint, and Rotundiloba Hollies are all cultivars of Ilex cornuta. The species is valued for its dense dark glossy green foliage and red berries on female clones.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub, topiary


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Light green, inconsipicuous.

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Bright red berries are a primary fall / winter feature on many cultivars, sometimes yellow


Variable by cultivar, dwarf clones 3 ft to 5 ft tall to 15 ft or 20 ft on the species


5 ft to 15 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

7, 8, 9, 10

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

While the foliage characters alone are reason to plant Ilex cornuta, it is one of the most heat, drought, salt and alkaline soil tolerant large-leaved, evergreen hollies available. Cold hardiness is marginal in USDA zone 7 for some cultivars.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.