Plant of the Day – Ilex rugosa

This holly grows as a ground cover under tall conifers.

This holly grows as a ground cover under tall conifers.

I collected  this unusual holly in the Japanese Alps in Nagano near where the Winter Olympics were held.  It forms a low mass of stems to about 2’ tall clothed with glossy evergreen foliage with a distinct network of impressed veins on the leaves giving a very rough (or rugose) texture.  Glossy red fruit decorate the prostrate branches on female plants.  Since it was growing at such high altitude under spruce, I am not certain how much heat it will tolerate in the landscape and may prove to be a better performer in more northern gardens.  So far it has grown well for us in the greenhouse and in our Lath House.  Propagate by seed or cuttings.  Hardy to zone 5, not heat tolerant.  Sun to shade.

Follow me at @jcramark because life is too short for boring plants.

The glossy, leathery foliage with deeply impressed veins provide an unusual texture.

The glossy, leathery foliage with deeply impressed veins provide an unusual texture.

Check out all the happenings at http://www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum

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