Ilex impressivena Yamam.
Ilex morii Yamam.
Ilex senjoensis Hayashi
Ilex pedunculosa is an evergreen shrub or small, multi-stemmed tree, usually growing up to 5 metres tall but occasionally reaching 10 metres[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, where it can be used as a large hedge.
Ilex pedunculosa 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)[
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[
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[
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)[
]. 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)
E. Asia - central and southern China, central and southern Japan.
Woods in mountains of Japan[
]. Woodlands and the sides of streams in W. China[
]. Broad-leaf woods, thickets, margins of woods on mountains; at elevations from 1,200 - 1,900 metres in China[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
Plants are hardy to about -10°c[
Grows best in locations protected from cold winter winds, otherwise it is easily grown in most well-drained soils, succeeding in full sun to part shade[
Resents root disturbance, especially as the plants get 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.
Young shoots - cooked[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
The seeds and bark, digested in wine, are used as carminative and tonic remedies[
A spirit prepared from the seeds is highly recommended to be taken in the treatment of haemorrhoids[
The leaves are used in the treatment of rheumatic pain, bleeding, chapped skin, and abscess[
The ashes of the leaves are used in the treatment of skin diseases and poisoned wounds.
Plants respond well to trimming and can be grown as a large, informal hedge[
A dark red dye is obtained from the leaves[
The wood is white and beautifully veined. It was used in the past for making ivory-like tablets that were used by officials at Imperial audiences in Imperial China[
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.