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Common Holly

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

Slow growing when young this tree can reach a massive 20m high in maturity. Glossy, dark-green leaves are spiny and sharply toothed. Bright-red winter berries occur only after pollination takes place.



  • There are always enough male and female plants to assure berries. Birds and small mammals ingest berries and are dispersed by them. Seedlings and maturing plants are costly and difficult to remove, especially in areas of thick native forest.

While berried plants add texture to the garden it is best to avoid species that so readily naturalise in bushland.

Look for native alternatives such as the Lilly Pilly varieties listed here.

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Alternative Plants

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

This large shrub is similar in looks to holly, with mid-green, finely toothed leaves and highly scented flowers, at their best in the evening. Osmanthus will grow to 4m high, suitable as an informal hedge or espaliered. Grows well in shady areas.

Lilly Pilly
Photo: © immij pty ltd
Alternative Plant Lilly Pilly
Acmena smithii 'Minor'
Trees and Shrubs

A dense-foliaged, medium tree that grows 8 - 10 m by 6 m wide. The leaves are glossy green. Flowers are creamy-white in spring/summer followed by fleshy fruits, white to purple in colour. This is a very hardy plant. It will grow in full sun or fairly heavy shade.

Sasanqua Camellias
Photo: Lorna Rose
Alternative Plant Sasanqua Camellias
Camellia sasanqua
Trees and Shrubs

This hardy evergreen shrub or small tree has a wide range of heights, colours and flower forms. Suitable for use as a hardy screen, specimen or container plant. The autumn flowers are in shades of pink, red, white and many bicolours in single, semi double and double forms. Sun hardy or shade tolerant varieties available. Will tolerate drought once established. Ask at your garden centre for the best varieties for your garden.

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