Quercus Species, Evergreen Oak, Holly Oak, Holm Oak

Quercus ilex

Family: Fagaceae (fag-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Quercus (KWER-kus) (Info)
Species: ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


over 40 ft. (12 m)


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)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

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:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Sacramento, California

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Salt Lake City, Utah

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 24, 2021, UtahTropics12 from Salt Lake City, UT (Zone 7b) wrote:

Ive been growing Quercus ilex in Salt Lake City, Utah (zone 7b) for over 10 years now and has become one of my absolute favorite evergreen trees to grow in this climate, which is saying something because I have quite a bit of variety in my gardens. They are extremely cold hardy (survived 7 F during the harsh winter of 2009 and lots of day temps below freezing as very young trees with absolutely no damage) and have taken the desert southwestern heat *100 F +* without skipping a beat whatsoever. My Holm Oak trees are large and beautiful now and honestly grow much better than most of the common landscape trees that are frequently sold here in Utah that ive tried. There is not one bad thing I could say about this gorgeous and special European tree, and im absolutely in love with them. I w... read more


On Oct 26, 2009, DMersh from Perth,
United Kingdom (Zone 7b) wrote:

Theres a few of these in a local park, they are quite odd looking trees, very like holly aprt from the size. Seems to be two growth patterns, sprawling trees with a short trunk and large canopy of branches while others have a taller central trunk that rises to most of the height of the tree. They bear no resemblance whatever (apart from producing acorns) to the common oak, quercus robur. The bark doesn't develop the heavy texturing of the common oak, remains fairly smooth, greyish brown in colour.


On Feb 5, 2008, borja_fg from Madrid,
Spain (Zone 8a) wrote:

This tree is present around all the country of Spain. It grows here in almost all kind of soils and climate conditions, except extremelly arid or too much cold weather. The tree is very long-lived.

The most extensive area of Holly oak in my country is all the middle, southern and soutwest parts of Spain. At all these regions Quercus ilex grows healthy with a medium size tree look. The tree has great importance at the economy of these regions (sistema de dehesas). Iberian pigs are feeded with the acorns, getting the iberian ham (jamn de pata negra) which is very appreciated. The acorns also are availed as cattle feed when the pasturage becomes scarce in the fall.

In the north part of it's range and in colder mountain areas (up to 1000 meters altitude), Quercu... read more


On Aug 21, 2006, Gustichock from Tandil,
Argentina (Zone 10b) wrote:

I dont quite like evergreen oaks. They are messy, they grow in different shapes and they look odd.
Anyway! Despite this, I still give them a chance to live and have a life. I propagate and grow them too as any other tree I do have on my collection.
These acorns germinated in my fridge, so I had to dig in a square of soil I have in my backyard and ease their hunger for growth!
Ive took these acorns from a tree growing in a park in the capital city of Mendoza.