Monday, October 19, 2009
Ilex litseifolia is almost a perfect holly...well, I didn't see anything that wasn't perfect
I suspect I give the impression of being a little bit uncritical.....well, maybe even a rose-colored-glasses wearing Pollyana, but that's mostly for public consumption. I think that, like your children, you can love plants even knowing that they have faults. And it probably doesn't always do a lot of good to harp on inadequacies. I love many Hollies that I know have problems; maybe leaf chlorosis, or spot necrosis, or berries that just aren't a good red. Maybe the growth is awkwardly irregular, maybe there's dieback of twigs or branches.
I had to call Stefan at home to figure this one out. I photographed the label because I didn't know the plant. It turns out that that name, an obsolete synonym, is ungoogleable. I almost got it on my own by trying "Ilex liteseafolia" (which is, in fact, the way our label spells litseifolia) but alas, that didn't work. So I called Stefan, who, of course, put me on to the correct spelling. It's still one of those obscure plants.....one of those plants that only Google to the "Flora of China" and a few other arcane and unhelpful sites.
Here's the thing though; click on the top picture, the close-up of leaves and berries. The leaves are thick, perfectly-shaped, and evenly dark green. The berries are smooth, unblemished, and a wonderful shade of crimson, none of that cheap scarlet. It's a perfect plant. Well, something might be wrong with it. One of our specimens died a nasty cankerous death. Still....you have to like it.
Entry in Flora of China.
Posted by ChrisU at 3:20 PM