American Holly 'Dan Fenton'

Ilex opaca

Family: Aquifoliaceae (a-kwee-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)
Species: opaca (oh-PAK-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Dan Fenton
Hybridized by Elwin Orton
Registered or introduced: 1987



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

White/Near White


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage


Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From hardwood cuttings

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

By grafting

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Owings Mills, Maryland

Parkville, Maryland

New Brunswick, New Jersey

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 18, 2015, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

'Dan Fenton' American Holly is one of the finest holly trees ever developed, selected, and named. Glossy dark green substantive foliage, good expression of dark red round fruit, vigorous growth to uniform pyramidal haystack form - all these are features sought by plantsmen like Dr. Elwin Orton, Jr. of Rutgers University when evaluating hollies for naming and introduction.

This tree is named for Dan Fenton, who was a fine plantsman in his own right, and a founder of the Holly Society of America in 1947. I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of such horticultural giants, and proud to have this namesake plant in my garden here at the Valley.