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Ilex, Blue Holly, Meserve Holly, Meserve Hybrid Holly 'Dragon Lady'

Ilex x aquipernyi

Family: Aquifoliaceae (a-kwee-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ilex (EYE-leks) (Info)
Species: x aquipernyi
Cultivar: Dragon Lady
Additional cultivar information:(PP04996, aka Meschick)
Hybridized by Meserve
Registered or introduced: 1981
View this plant in a garden



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

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


Seed is poisonous if ingested

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

Bloom Color:

White/Near White


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring


Grown for foliage



Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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

Bear, Delaware

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Chicago, Illinois

Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Pottstown, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Wyoming, Rhode Island

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 18, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This cultivar requires more frequent shearing than most hollies to keep its tight upright shape. Without it growth gets thin and the branchlets droop.

I agree that the spines are exceptionally nasty.


On Jul 18, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This hybrid between the English Holly x Perny Holly has the nasty, sharp leaves of the Perny, and it really hurts, especially when one has a leaf get stuck into one's hand by the sharp spines. It is pretty, but I don't recommend it. It is somewhat expensive, but it is offered by many Mid-Atlantic nurseries.


On Apr 13, 2012, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have several of these holly trees in my small woodland garden and they are lovely. I have shaped them twice and they are growing very full and symmetrical. Each one is covered with beautiful bright red berries. To my surprise and pleasure, I see that robins are eating the berries of this tree once they have softened in the spring. The leaves are very sharp and the dense growth would make a nice hedge. These are a compact holly, and also not as tall as an American Holly - I was told they would grow to about 20 feet high. One I have shaped in a narrow column and the others are conical; both forms are beautiful and growing well. They are very sculptural and provide structure for the more natural shrubs and plants surrounding them, especially important during winter months. I've had no probl... read more


On Nov 29, 2006, claypa from West Pottsgrove, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

A beautiful columnar Holly. The glossy leaves' shape hint at its 'perny holly' parentage; smaller than most, about an inch to an inch and a half, with sharp needles that make this cultivar very deer resistant. Known for having some bare spots; these can be prevented by pruning to promote thicker growth. Female; said to be self-fruiting. Great for hedges, too.
I see different hardiness zones listed for this; 6b for sure, but probably colder zones, too.

A cross between I. aquifolium and I. pernyi, also known as Ilex x aquipernyi, and 'Meschick'
Other cultivars of this cross include 'Aquipern', 'Brilliant', 'Gable', 'San Jose', and 'Wieman's Pacific Queen'