in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Growing Rhamnus ilicifolia: Hollyleaf Redberry

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Form: Shrub.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Slow.
Mature Size: 12' high and wide.
Flowers: Tiny, inconspicuous, yellow to green.
Bloom: In spring with new growth.
Fruit: Red berries appear in summer and turn red in late summer to early fall. They are edible, and when mixed with sugar, tasting like cherry and cinnamon.
Leaves: Dark green, holly-like leaves with soft spines and red stems. New leaves are yellow-green.
Stems: No thorns.
Wildlife: Birds are attracted to the red berries.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to afternoon shade. Full shade makes the plant leggy and unattractive.
Water once established: Monthly.
Soil: Well drained, dry, pH 6.1-7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral).
Planting: It often grows on the east side of a large tree in the wild. Afternoon shade is desirable.
Prune: To shape if desired.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed.
Uses: Ornamental, bird garden.

This plant is a member of the Buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae). It is available at the Desert Survivors Native Plant Nursery in Tucson.

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Latest update: February, 2019.

Rhamnus ilicifolia: Hollyleaf Redberry - flowers

Rhamnus ilicifolia: Hollyleaf Redberry - berries

Rhamnus ilicifolia: Hollyleaf Redberry - shrub