Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sichuan Holly
Ilex ciliospinosa

Family: Aquifoliaceae (a-kwee-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)
Species: ciliospinosa (sil-ee-o-spin-OH-sa) (Info)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

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

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Good Fall Color

Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us


1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Feb 13, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a beautiful small evergreen tree with a graceful, open habit and pendulous branches. The habit is upright and rather narrow. The leaves are toothed but not sharp to the touch.

Does well in full sun but also tolerates considerable shade.

If you want a dense shrub to shear tightly for conventional landscape use, as in a foundation planting, this isn't the plant for you. But in a small space, this would make a great garden specimen. It is all too rarely grown.

Specimens in the Arnold Arbortum (Boston, MA Z6a) are up to 15' high.

Neutral claypa On Dec 12, 2006, claypa from West Pottsgrove, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Sichuan Holly
Native to China. Used in crosses of other hollies, including with Ilex aquifolium to get Ilex x 'Brilliant'. Spined, narrow dark green or yellowish green leaves and bright red berries. Some American arboretums grow this tree.


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

Roslindale, Massachusetts

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