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Plant Informational Database

Holly Leaf Cherry

Prunus ilicifolia

a.k.a. Evergreen Cherry

A native California cherry, with fairly large fruits that have a large seed and minimal flesh. Flavor is sweet and tasty, but unfortunately there usually isn't much pulp.

Seed Availability

Seeds are now available at our seed store.


A scraggly, fairly dense evergreen that can reach 40ft, but specimens often grow to only 10-20ft. The leaves are quite distinctive and similar to holly, hence its common name. The small white flowers are borne in clusters, with ripe fruits following a few months later. When in bloom, the tree is quite showy.


Hardy to 0F. Young plants should be protected from temperatures below 20F.

Growing Environment

Grows well in full sun. Grow in well-drained soil. Will stand droughts and freezes once established.


Germination can be slow and tricky. Seeds seem to do best with warm temperatures and adequate moisture. Some sources claim acid treatments helps in germination. Germination time can be weeks to a few months.


The fruits are edible, but the tree is most commonly grown as an ornamental. Fruits are extremely popular with birds. The trees makes for an attractive and tough shrub in suitable climates.

Native Range

Native to coastal California, south to Baja California.

Additional Pictures


Related Species

Couepia polyandra
Cydonia oblonga
Eriobotrya japonica
Fragaria californica
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Fragaria vesca
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Malus pumila
Prunus ilicifolia
Holly Leaf Cherry
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii
Catalina Island Cherry
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