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Common Name: Tarajo
Ilex latifolia is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 10.00 metres tall.
It has edible uses.
Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stupor if eaten in quantity[
E. Asia - China, Japan.
Evergreen broad-leaf forests, shrub forests and bamboo forests at elevations of 200 - 1500 metres[
Succeeds in most soils so long as they are not water-logged[
One report says that this species is hardy to about -15°c[
], another that it is hardy to about -5°c[
], whilst others say that it is not fully hardy in many parts of Britain and is best grown in the milder areas of the country[
]. Plants succeed but they do not thrive outdoors at Kew, though they thrive just a few miles south of there[
Resents root disturbance, especially as the plant grows older[
]. It is best to place the plants into their permanent positions as soon as possible, perhaps giving some winter protection for their first year or two[
Plants are very tolerant of pruning and can be cut right back into old wood if required[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
The leaves are used as a tea substitute[
The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It can take 18 months to germinate. Stored seed generally requires two winters and a summer before it will germinate and should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame. Scarification, followed by a warm stratification and then a cold stratification may speed up the germination time[
]. The seedlings are rather slow-growing. Pot them up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame for their first year. It is possible to plant them out into a nursery bed in late spring of the following year, but they should not be left here for more than two years since they do not like being transplanted. Alternatively, grow them on in their pots for a second season and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Give them a good mulch and some protection for their first winter outdoors.
Cuttings of almost ripe wood with a heel, August in a shaded position in a cold frame. Leave for 12 months before potting up.
Layering in early autumn. Takes 2 years.