Thursday, February 07, 2008

Golden Nellie R. Stevens Holly

Hybrid Holly
Ilex x cv. 'Gold Nellie R. Stevens'

One of things I enjoyed at Planting Fields was their huge Ilex collection. Both in the scope and size of the plants. This cultivar is one type I had never seen before, and realize that it is not for everyone. The regular or normal Nellie Stevens Holly is a beautiful shrub or tree but it doesn’t grow well in my part of Connecticut. I would say about 6 out of 10 winters it is severely leaf burned and it sustains some damage 8 out of 10 years. Even though mine are planted in a sheltered location the constant winter defoliation has been taking its toll. It doesn’t actually kill the tree but makes more of a semi-evergreen, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a Holly. It seems these problems also effect the berry production as I have only had a few scattered berries in the 18 years I have been growing mine even though there are plenty of males around.

Now on Long Island they seem to thrive and are not as affected by the winter. They can attain a height of 15 to 25 feet (or more) and get a large spread. It can be quite vigorous and adaptable, growing several feet in one season. Although many books list it being hardy in USDA Zone 6 I would have to add that it is root hardy but does much better in Zone 7. It is a hybrid between I. cornuta x I. aquifolium and I couldn’t find any references to the gold cultivar.

Yellow berries on American Holly Tree (Ilex opaca f. xanthocarpa)

I have been trying to get a picture of the yellow berried form of the American Holly Tree for a long time. Mine don’t seem to get a great crop of berries and are located in a dark corner of the garden, hence difficult to shoot pictures of. I didn’t do much better at Planting Fields with this picture but they had a lot of different specimens that were loaded with yellow berries. So, I am posting this picture of Ilex opaca f. xanthocarpa to get it out of my system. This will hopefully allow me move on and get that picture of Lily of the Valley flowers I have been trying to take forever.

There several yellow berried cultivars of American and other Hollies. I think they add a little spice to a Holly collection.


Oswegan said...

I like the yellow berries.

Katarina said...

This is my first visit to your blog - and I'm amazed. It's trully a delight...
I will certainly return - often.
/Katarina (Sweden)

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Hi oswegan, how is life without blogging treating you? Leave a link to your new site next time you visit.

katarina, hi and welcome. Feel free to join in the conversation anytime.