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Useful Temperate Plants

Ilex latifolia

Thunb.

Aquifoliaceae

+ Synonyms

Ilex macrophylla Blume

Ilex tarajo Göpp.

Common Name: Tarajo

No Image.

General Information

Ilex latifolia is an evergreen tree with a dense, round to pyramidal crown; it can grow up to 10 metres tall and around 5 metres wide[
309
Title
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/shrubs/
Publisher
University of Florida
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
PDF fact sheets on over 500 shrubs.
].
This is one of the two principle Ilex species that are used to make a tea-like drink that is very popular in parts of China and other parts of east Asia. Known as 'large-leafed ku ding cha', it has a long history of use, going back at least 2,000 years, as a health-promoting beverage[
2070
Title
Genus Ilex L.: Phytochemistry, Ethnopharmacology, and Pharmacology
Publication
Chinese Herbal Medicines, 2016, 8(3): 209-230
Author
Fan Yi, Xiao-ling Zhao, Yong Peng, Pei-gen Xiao
Website
http://10.1016/S1674-6384(16)60044-8
Publisher
 
Year
2016
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The plant is sometimes also grown as an ornamental
Ilex latifolia has a very wide distribution, large population, is not currently experiencing any major threats and no significant future threats have been identified. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2019)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, Ilex species in general contain several potentially toxic compounds, particularly saponins, glycosides and triterpenoids. These compounds also often have a range of potential health benefits[
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.
,
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
,
2070
Title
Genus Ilex L.: Phytochemistry, Ethnopharmacology, and Pharmacology
Publication
Chinese Herbal Medicines, 2016, 8(3): 209-230
Author
Fan Yi, Xiao-ling Zhao, Yong Peng, Pei-gen Xiao
Website
http://10.1016/S1674-6384(16)60044-8
Publisher
 
Year
2016
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The berries are usually the part of the plant most likely to be toxic, though the degree of toxicity is usually low. Their bitter flavour usually prevents a person eating more than one or two, but even a small handful of the fruit eaten by a healthy adult is unlikely to cause more than feelings of nausea that can lead on to vomiting and diarrhoea[
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].
The compounds in the leaves are particularly interesting. The leaves of many Ilex species around the world are commonly used to make health-promoting teas that, when drunk on a regular basis, help to regulate bodily functions and can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood-cholesterol levels etc (See Ilex paraguariensis or Ilex kaushue for examples)[
2070
Title
Genus Ilex L.: Phytochemistry, Ethnopharmacology, and Pharmacology
Publication
Chinese Herbal Medicines, 2016, 8(3): 209-230
Author
Fan Yi, Xiao-ling Zhao, Yong Peng, Pei-gen Xiao
Website
http://10.1016/S1674-6384(16)60044-8
Publisher
 
Year
2016
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. Even these teas, however, if taken in very concentrated doses, can act as a laxative or cause vomiting. Indeed, several species are used by traditional peoples to induce vomiting as a means of purifying the body (see Ilex guayusa or Ilex vomitoria for examples)

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
58
Title
Flora of Japan. (English translation)
Publication
 
Author
Ohwi. G.
Publisher
Smithsonian Institution
Year
1965
ISBN
-
Description
The standard work. Brilliant, but not for the casual reader.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

E. Asia - southern China, central and southern Japan.

Habitat

Evergreen broad-leaf forests, shrub forests and bamboo forests at elevations of 200 - 1500 metres[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height10.00 m
Growth RateMedium
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

One report says that this species is hardy to about -15°c[
184
Title
Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1989
ISBN
0-330-30258-2
Description
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1,900 species and cultivars.
], another that it is hardy to about -5°c[
260
Title
Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books, London.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-330-37376-5
Description
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
], whilst others say that it is not fully hardy outside the milder areas of the temperate zone[
188
Title
The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Publication
 
Author
Brickell. C.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-86318-386-7
Description
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Plants succeed but they do not thrive outdoors at Kew Gardens (zone 7), though they thrive just a few miles south of there[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
Prefers a position with some shade[
309
Title
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/shrubs/
Publisher
University of Florida
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
PDF fact sheets on over 500 shrubs.
]. Succeeds in most soils so long as they are not water-logged, preferring a well-drained soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
309
Title
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/shrubs/
Publisher
University of Florida
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
PDF fact sheets on over 500 shrubs.
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
309
Title
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/shrubs/
Publisher
University of Florida
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
PDF fact sheets on over 500 shrubs.
].
Resents root disturbance, especially as the plant grows older[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. 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[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Plants are very tolerant of pruning and can be cut right back into old wood if required[
188
Title
The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Publication
 
Author
Brickell. C.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-86318-386-7
Description
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
].
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Edible Uses

The leaves are used as a tea substitute[
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Refreshing, stimulating and thirst-quenching. A bitter flavour, though with a somewhat sweet aftertaste. The tea is rich in micronutrients but contains no caffiene. A popular drink in parts of east Asia, its regular consumption is said to have various health-promoting benefits, helping to regulate a range of body functiond[
2070
Title
Genus Ilex L.: Phytochemistry, Ethnopharmacology, and Pharmacology
Publication
Chinese Herbal Medicines, 2016, 8(3): 209-230
Author
Fan Yi, Xiao-ling Zhao, Yong Peng, Pei-gen Xiao
Website
http://10.1016/S1674-6384(16)60044-8
Publisher
 
Year
2016
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. Its most important biological activity is probably its effect upon lipid metabolism and blood circulation, helping in the prevention of conditions such as arteriosclerosis and hypertension[
2071
Title
The large-leaved Kudingcha (Ilex latifolia Thunb and Ilex kudingcha C.J. Tseng): a traditional Chinese tea with plen
Publication
J Nat Med (2013) 67:425-437
Author
Li L. et al
Website
http://10.1007/s11418-013-0758-z
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute[
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Medicinal

A tea made from the leaves is said to quench thirst, refresh the mind, improve eyesight, and remove phlegm[
2070
Title
Genus Ilex L.: Phytochemistry, Ethnopharmacology, and Pharmacology
Publication
Chinese Herbal Medicines, 2016, 8(3): 209-230
Author
Fan Yi, Xiao-ling Zhao, Yong Peng, Pei-gen Xiao
Website
http://10.1016/S1674-6384(16)60044-8
Publisher
 
Year
2016
ISBN
 
Description
 
,
2071
Title
The large-leaved Kudingcha (Ilex latifolia Thunb and Ilex kudingcha C.J. Tseng): a traditional Chinese tea with plen
Publication
J Nat Med (2013) 67:425-437
Author
Li L. et al
Website
http://10.1007/s11418-013-0758-z
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. It has also been used to treat a range of conditions, including the common cold, malaria, rhinitis, itching eyes, inflammation of the mouth, conjunctival congestion, headaches, swelling and pain. It is helpful for improving the digestion and alleviating the adverse effects of alcohol[
2070
Title
Genus Ilex L.: Phytochemistry, Ethnopharmacology, and Pharmacology
Publication
Chinese Herbal Medicines, 2016, 8(3): 209-230
Author
Fan Yi, Xiao-ling Zhao, Yong Peng, Pei-gen Xiao
Website
http://10.1016/S1674-6384(16)60044-8
Publisher
 
Year
2016
ISBN
 
Description
 
,
2071
Title
The large-leaved Kudingcha (Ilex latifolia Thunb and Ilex kudingcha C.J. Tseng): a traditional Chinese tea with plen
Publication
J Nat Med (2013) 67:425-437
Author
Li L. et al
Website
http://10.1007/s11418-013-0758-z
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

The leaves contain a number of health-promoting compounds, including triterpenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Amongst their many health benefits, these compounds are strongly antioxidant, they regulate lipid metabolism, can protect the cardiovascular system and prevent cancer[
2070
Title
Genus Ilex L.: Phytochemistry, Ethnopharmacology, and Pharmacology
Publication
Chinese Herbal Medicines, 2016, 8(3): 209-230
Author
Fan Yi, Xiao-ling Zhao, Yong Peng, Pei-gen Xiao
Website
http://10.1016/S1674-6384(16)60044-8
Publisher
 
Year
2016
ISBN
 
Description
 
,
2071
Title
The large-leaved Kudingcha (Ilex latifolia Thunb and Ilex kudingcha C.J. Tseng): a traditional Chinese tea with plen
Publication
J Nat Med (2013) 67:425-437
Author
Li L. et al
Website
http://10.1007/s11418-013-0758-z
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Other Uses

An extract of the leaves is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin protector[
1243
Title
CosIng
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/cosing/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
CosIng is the European Commission database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients.
].

Propagation

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[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
,
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. 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.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2023-02-02. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Ilex+latifolia>

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