Herbs & Plants

Ilex asprella

Bo0tanical Name: Ilex asprella
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Order: Aquifoliales
Genus: Ilex
Species: I. asprella

Common Names: Rough-leaved holly and Plum-leaved holly

Habitat: Ilex asprella is native to S. E. China, and Taiwan. It grows in the hillsides, wild places, open woods or shrub thickets. Sparse forests on slopes, shrubby areas, roadsides at elevations of 400 – 1000 metres

A densely branched deciduous shrub, growing up to 3 m tall. The long shoots glabrous, brown, and slender, while the short shoots green with significant white lenticels. Leaves thin-chartaceous, glandular-punctate on the back, ovate, 4 to 5 cm in length, 1.5 to 2.5 cm broad. Leaf apex acuminate, leaf base cuneate, leaf margin sermlate, hirsute on adaxial nerves and nearly glabrous beneath. Petioles 3 to 8 mm long. Reticulate veins with 6 to 8 pairs of pinnate lateral veins.

White flowers in axillary umbels with slender pedicels, dioecy. Male flower: 2 to 5 flowers each inflorescence, 2.5 to 3 mm in diameter, glabrous; 4 or 5 suborbicular petals, margin erose, corolla rotate, base slightly connate; stamens ca. 3/4 as long as petals, anthers oblong and ca. 1 mm. Female flower: 4 to 6 flowers each inflorescence, glabrous, ca. 3 mm in diameter; flowers 4-6; calyx deeply 4 to 6 lobed; corolla rotate, petals suborbicular, basal slightly connate; staminodes ca. 1 mm, sterile anthers sagittate; ovary ovoid, ca. 1.5 mm in diameter, style present, stigma thickly discoid.


Ilex asprella succeeds in most soils so long as they are not water-logged. 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. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is antiphlogistic, depurative, febrifuge and sialogogue. A decoction is used in the treatment of high fever in colds, laryngitis, acute tonsillitis and traumatic injuries. It is also applied externally to boils and abscesses. The leaf is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea and snakebite.

Known Hazards: 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

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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