English Holly (Ilex aquifolium)



Evergreen tree with waxy, sharply-toothed leaves growing up to 5 m tall.  Inconspicuous flowers are followed by clusters of round red berries.


This European tree tolerates both sun and shade and has established in a variety of ecosystems.  On Galiano Island, can occur as a forest understory tree or as a tall shrub in open ecosystems such as meadows, wetlands, and old fields.


This prickly plant can disperse itself widely through fruit that is palatable for birds, and grows in a broad range of ecosystems.  It displaces native species and creates unpleasant, impenetrable hedges that limit human and wildlife movement.


Wear thick gloves and clothing to limit scratches from prickly leaves.  Small diameter saplings can be pulled by hand or using a weed wrench.  Tree-sized plants should be cut above ground, and then the roots must be excavated.  Roots that are left intact will re-sprout with multiple trunks.  Removed plant material with fruits should be piled and burned; plant material without fruits can be dried out on an impermeable membrane, then discarded in the forest in a shady area, provided it is located where it will not result in a fire hazard.

Our Experience

English holly produces many seeds, and disperses widely through birds.  Cut stems will re-sprout, so it is important to remove the roots completely.

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