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Common Holly

Common Holly
Photo: Fleming's Nurseries
Invasive Plant
Common Holly
Ilex aquafolium

This evergreen shrub or small tree is slow growing when young but can reach a massive 20 m at maturity. Glossy, darkgreen leaves are spiny and sharply toothed. Bright-red winter berries occur only after pollination between male and female plants.



  • Birds and small mammals ingest berries and the seed is dispersed.
  • Plants can spread by suckering and layering.

Seedlings and maturing plants are difficult and costly to remove. While red berried plants add interest and texture to the garden, it is best to avoid these species that so readily naturalise in bushland.

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Alternative Plants

Fragrant Olive, Holly Osmanthus
Photo: Lorna Rose
Alternative Plant Fragrant Olive, Holly Osmanthus
Osmanthus heterophyllus
Trees and Shrubs

This large shrub is similar in looks to holly, with mid-green, finely toothed leaves and small white flowers that are highly scented in the evening Osmanthus will grow to 4 m and will grow well in shady areas.

Native Hazel
Photo: Habitat Plants
Alternative Plant Native Hazel
Pomaderris apetala
Trees and Shrubs

A shrub or small tree to 15 m, this Tasmanian native is common in the under-storey of forests in many parts of the lowlands. Often associated with watercourses, it can sometimes occur in dry places. In cultivation they are generally hardy and appreciate adequate drainage and full-sun to part-shade. They have dark green leaves with toothed edges and grayish hairs on the underside. Large cream heads of flowers in spring.

Sweet Viburnum
Photo: Lorna Rose
Alternative Plant Sweet Viburnum
Viburnum odoratissimum
Trees and Shrubs

Evergreen, fast-growing shrub or small tree to 6 m. Leaves are large, shiny and leathery. Flowers are white, star-shaped and fragrant in clusters followed by bright red fruit. Suitable as an informal hedge or screen. Grows in full-sun to semi-shade and can be clipped or pruned. Used as cut foliage for flower arrangements and has a long vase life.

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