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Ilex cornuta 'Rotunda' is often confused with:
Ilex cornuta Form
Ilex cornuta 'Carissa' Ilex cornuta 'Carissa'
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii' Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii Nana'
Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens' Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens'
Ilex cornuta 'Carissa' Ilex cornuta 'Carissa'
Ilex cornuta 'Rotunda' has some common insect problems:
Holly Pest Management Calendar
Pests of Holly

Ilex cornuta 'Rotunda'

Phonetic Spelling
EYE-leks kor-NOO-tuh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The Dwarf Chinese Holly or "Rotunda' is a cultivar of Ilex cornuta and is a dense, compact, rounded shrub that measures 3 to 4 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide, and is significantly smaller than its parent.  It is a female clone and usually does not set fruits. The flowers, if present, are not very showy, but they are pleasantly scented.  The leaves are deep green, thick, glossy, rectangular-shaped, and have 5 to 7 spines. 

This dwarf broadleaf evergreen shrub originated from seed in 1930 at a nursery in Louisiana. 

The genus name, Ilex, is the Latin name for the Quercus ilex which is the holm oak. The foliage of the holm oak is very similar to many shrubs in the Ilex genus. The specific epithet, cornuta, means horn or horn-shaped. The cultivar name, 'Rotunda,' means rounded and refers to the shrubs habit.

This holly can be grown in full to partial sun and is tolerant of heat and humidity, making it a good choice for the south. It requires little care and is moderately salt tolerant and drought-tolerant. It does well in clay and alkaline soils as long as they are well-drained. Prune in the late winter to control its size, if needed. 

The fruit and evergreen leaves make for winter interest in the landscape. The spiny leaves also make this a good choice for a barrier or privacy screen or use as an impenetrable hedge.

The Dwarf Chinese Holly can be planted as a specimen, used in small groups, or planted along a foundation. Mature plants do not tolerate root disturbance, so it is best to site the plant in its permanent position, preferably one that provides winter protection for the first year or two.

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom:  Spring     Foliage:  Year-round      Fruits:  Fall and Winter

Quick ID Hints:

  • dwarf, rounded, mounding broadleaf evergreen 3 to 6 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide
  • thick, glossy, dark green leaves, rectangular with 5 to 7 spines
  • fragrant, inconspicuous white flowers
  • typically no fruits, if present red berry-like drupes

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems: This plant can have pest problems. Holly leaf miners, scale, whiteflies, and spider mites are occasional insect pests. Powdery mildew, leaf spot, leaf rot, and tar spot are potential disease problems. It is resistant to Phytophthora root rot. Depending on their planting location this shrub can exhibit chlorosis, leaf drop, or leaf scorch from high pH soils.

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

More information on Ilex cornuta.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#shrub#wildlife plant#nectar plant#salt tolerant#low maintenance#winter interest#accent plant#hedges#specialized bees#mounding#spines#glossy leaves#foundation planting#rounded#border planting#glossy#pollinator plant#fantz#bird friendly#bee friendly#full sun#dense#cultivar#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#shrub#wildlife plant#nectar plant#salt tolerant#low maintenance#winter interest#accent plant#hedges#specialized bees#mounding#spines#glossy leaves#foundation planting#rounded#border planting#glossy#pollinator plant#fantz#bird friendly#bee friendly#full sun#dense#cultivar#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ilex
    Species:
    cornuta
    Family:
    Aquifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are attractive to birds. Flowers attract bees. Members of the genus Ilex support the following specialized bee: Colletes banksi.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Phytophthora root rot
    Edibility:
    Use caution. Berries are slightly toxic to humans if eaten in quantity.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Spines
    Thorns
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Typically lacking in fruit, but occasionally red berries are present. The fruits are 1/3 inch in diameter and bright to dull red berry-like drupes. They are produced on female plants. Fruits persist into winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Insignificant
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Inconspicuous, four-parted, radial, axillary, dull-white flowers appear in late spring and are 1/4 to 1/3-inch in diameter. Male and female flowers are on different plants (dioecious). Fragrant but not showy.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are glossy dark-green in color, yellowish-green on the undersides, rectangular shaped, and have five to seven sharp spines per leaf. The leaf apex is bent downward and spinose. The apex terminates in a spine. There is typically a spine at each corner of the rectangle, plus one or two in the middle of the leaf that curves downward. The leaf arrangement is alternate, and the leaves are simple, evergreen, stipule, and minute. The leaves measure 1.5 to 3 inches long and 0.75 to 1.5 inches wide.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is smooth gray and becomes finely flakey.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are greenish-yellow. The buds are small and green.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Lawn
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Compaction
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat
    Salt
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Spines/Thorns
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Minor toxicity. Ingestion may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or other illness in humans.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Saponins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits