Herb: Japanese Holly

Latin name: Ilex crenata

Family: Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family)

Edible parts of Japanese Holly:

Fruit. No further details are given, but some caution is advised.The fruit is about 5mm in diameter.

Description of the plant:


5 m
(16 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Thickets, woods and wet places in lowland and mountains all over Japan.

Other uses of Japanese Holly:

Very amenable to trimming, this species is often grown as a hedge in N. America and Japan. It can also be used in topiary.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It can take 18 months to germinate. Stored seed generally requires two winters and a summer before it will germinate and should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame. Scarification, followed by a warm stratification and then a cold stratification may speed up the germination time. The seedlings are rather slow-growing. Pot them up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame for their first year. It is possible to plant them out into a nursery bed in late spring of the following year, but they should not be left here for more than two years since they do not like being transplanted. Alternatively, grow them on in their pots for a second season and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Give them a good mulch and some protection for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of almost ripe wood with a heel, August in a shaded position in a cold frame. Leave for 12 months before potting up. Layering in October. Takes 2 years.

Cultivation of Japanese Holly:

Thickets, woods and wet places in lowland and mountains all over Japan.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Ilex crenata:

Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stupor if eaten in quantity.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.