California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Prunus ilicifolia - Holly Leaf Cherry

Prunus ilicifolia a great small tree for a dry garden. It gets to 15-20 feet tall and wide. The Holly Leaf Cherry leaves are very reminiscent of the Holly bushes, with prickly margins and a shiny top. Prunus ilicifolia blooms heavily in the mid-spring with clouds of creamy flowers. Prunus ilicifoia literally hums with bees when it is in bloom. Then it produced cherries. The fruit are not to be confused with bing cherries but the bears love them and they are edible in a pinch. That is to say that you almost have to be a bear to love them. There is much more pit than fruit and even when ripe are very tart tasting, but the bears seem to like them anyways. Prunus ilicifolia is a host for the Lorquin's Admiral Butterfly. The trunk and branches are so sinuous in character that they remind me of a dwarf version of a much larger tree.

High resolution photos of Prunus ilicifolia are part of our garden image collection.

Prunus ilicifolia, Holly Leafed Cherry