Prunus ilicifolia

Common Name:
Holly leaf cherry
Plant Type:
Evergreen shrub
Rosaceae (The Rose Family)
Geographic Origin:
California Native?:
Plant Size:
8-15 feet
Landscape/Garden Uses:
Flowering Season:
Flower Color:
Sun or light shade
Well-drained soil
Suggested Irrigation:
Moderate to little watering
Estimated Hardiness:
Hardy to 10 degrees F. or less
Holly-leaf cherry is one of California's most dramatic native shrubs. It is bushy and usually round to upright-oval in form. It is usually seen at 5-10 feet high in the wild but can reach 30 feet in fertile, well-watered locations. The leaves are evergreen, 1-4 inches long, broad in outline with wavy, often spine-toothed margins. It bears many slender clusters of small white flowers in middle and late spring. Half inch red to black fruits ripen in fall and are quite decorative (they are also good to eat, but there is little flesh surrounding the large seeds). This is a shrub of many uses, beautiful individually or in group plantings, borders and screens. It is also heat- and drought-tolerant, though stress reduces its size and can give the leaves a tired, somewhat yellowish cast. Hardy to 10 degrees F. or less.