Ilex crenata ‘Conners’ • Japanese Holly

Ilex crenata Japanese Holly イヌツゲ 犬黄楊 inu-tsuge

Area F has a nice collection of different kinds of Japanese Holly and boxwoods, you can see them while walking along the E path before approaching the second shortcut; they look very similar to my eye, so finally took a closer look to note their differences: next few posts will be dedicated to them.

Ilex crenata ‘Conners’ is a low (maintained  at about 1′), pruned round shrub on the very corner where the East path meets the second shortcut. It has dark green, small, dense and stiff leaves, which are toothed (‘crenata’ is Latin for “toothed” – all crenatas have some leaf indentations).


SJG • 4/29/14 – Ilex crenata ‘Conners’ • Japanese Holly, area F, on the corner of E path and second shortcut.


SJG • 4/29/14 – Ilex crenata ‘Conners’ • Japanese Holly; LEAVES – note they are ‘toothed’

From Backyard Gardener: Ilex crenata ( Conners Holly )
This holly resembles boxwood, but its growth habit is lower and more spreading. Leaves are dark green, glossy, small, ovate to elliptic, with slightly scalloped edges. Berries are small and black, though sometimes white or yellow. Needs rich, moist, slightly acidic soil, good drainage and thick mulch. Will not tolerate drought.

Important Info : A popular landscape plant in U.S. Native to Japan and Asian Countries. […]

From Garden Supply Co: […] Description: Valued for its extremely colorful red berries and attractive evergreen foliage during the winter; its conical, compact growth habit makes it perfect for smaller landscapes.

Ornamental Features: Conners Japanese Holly has attractive dark green foliage. The small glossy pointy leaves are ornamentally significant but remain dark green through the winter. The flowers are not ornamentally significant. It features an abundance of magnificent red berries in late fall. The smooth bark is not particularly outstanding. […]

Apparently I’m not the only one who is confused about Japanese Holly and boxwood. This is from Landscaping: […]
How to Distinguish it [Japanese holly] From Boxwood Shrubs: My initial interest in this plant stemmed from its resemblance to the boxwoods. I was annoyed by the fact that, when driving around the neighborhood and surveying people’s landscaping (one of my favorite pastimes), I was unable to say definitively whether I was spotting a boxwood or a Hetz’s Japanese holly. So it was time to grow the latter (since I was already growing boxwood), enabling me to experience it up-close and personal on a regular basis and become intimately acquainted with it.

Unfortunately, the two features that allow you to identify Hetz’s Japanese holly (in contradistinction to boxwood) with the greatest certainty are not discernible from a distance. They are:
1. Its serrated leaves
2. The alternate pattern in which the leaves grow along the branches

A hint regarding the former is contained in the shrub’s scientific plant name. Crenata is Latin for “toothed” and refers to the little teeth along the edges of the leaves (which boxwood lacks). And the boxwoods sport opposite, not alternate leaves. […]


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