Herbs & Plants

Ilex pubescens

Botaniical Name: Ilex pubescens
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Genus: Ilex
Species: Ilex pubescens

Common Name: Mao dong qing (China)

*Ilex pubescens var. glabra Chang
*Ilex trichoclada Hayata

Habitat: Ilex pubescens is native to E. Asia – S. China. It grows in the evergreen broad-leaved forests, forest margins, shrubby areas, streamsides, roadsides; (sea level to)100-1000 m. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Taiwan, SE Yunnan, Zhejiang.

Ilex pubescens is an evergreen Shrubs or small trees, 3-8 m tall. Branchlets gray-brown, somewhat zigzag, subquadrangular, densely hirsute or villous, longitudinally ridged and rugose; leaf scars slightly raised, nearly crescent-shaped; lenticels absent; terminal buds often poorly developed or absent. Stipules persistent, deltoid, hirsute, apically acute; petiole 2.5-5 mm, densely hirsute; leaf blade olivaceous or deep olivaceous when dry, elliptic, oblong, obovate, or narrowly ovate, 2-6(-10) × 1-2.5(-7) cm, thickly papery, papery, or membranous, both surfaces hirsute, midvein flattened or slightly impressed adaxially, densely hirsute, lateral veins 4 or 5 pairs, evident abaxially, obscure adaxially, anastomosing near margin, reticulate veins obscure on both surfaces, base obtuse, margin sparsely and sharply serrulate or subentire, apex acute or shortly acuminate, or abruptly acuminate. Inflorescences: cymes, fasciculate or pseudopaniculate, axillary on first to second year’s branchlets, densely hirsute. Male inflorescences: cymes of order 1 or 2, 1- or 3-flowered; pedicels 1.5-2 mm; bracteoles 2, basal; peduncles when present 1-1.5 mm; flowers pink or white, 4- or 6-merous; calyx patelliform, ca. 2 mm in diam., hirsute, deeply 5- or 6-lobed, lobes ovate-deltoid, ciliate; corolla rotate, 4-5 mm in diam., petals 4-6, ovate-oblong or obovate, ca. 2 mm, basally slightly connate, apex rounded; stamens ca. 3/4 as long as petals, anthers oblong; rudimentary ovary pulvinate, rostellate. Female inflorescences: cymes of order 1(or 2), 1(-3)-flowered; pedicels 2-3 mm, with basal bracteoles; flowers 5-8-merous; calyx patelliform, ca. 2.5 mm in diam., (5 or)6- or 7-lobed, hirsute, apex acute; corolla rotate, petals 5-8, oblong, ca. 2 mm, apex rounded; staminodes ca. 1/2 as long as petals, sterile anthers sagittate; ovary ovoid, ca. 1.5 mm, ca. 1.3 mm in diam., glabrous, styles evident, stigma capitate or thickly discoid. Fruit red, globose, 3-4 mm in diam.; fruiting pedicel ca. 4 mm, densely hirsute; persistent calyx explanate, ca. 3 mm in diam., 5-lobed, lobes ovate, hirsute; persistent style evident, stigma thickly discoid or capitate; pyrenes (5 or)6(or 7), ellipsoidal, (2.3-)3 mm, (0.8-)1 mm in diam., pointed at both ends, abaxially longitudinally and broadly sulcate or not, 3-striate, laterally smooth, endocarp leathery or subwoody.

It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is not self-fertile.


Succeeds in most soils so long as they are not water-logged[200]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Another report says that the plant only tolerates temperatures down to about -3°c. 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 anti-inflammatory, antitussive, depurative, expectorant and febrifuge. It causes a strong and persistent dilation of the blood vessels, increasing the blood flow to the coronary artery, lowering blood pressure and reducing oxygen consumption of the cardiac muscles. It is used in the treatment of Buerger’s disease, angina pectoris, acute myocardial infarction, tonsillitis, acute bronchitis with cough and sputum, hypertension. It has an antibacterial action against both gram positive and negative bacilli. The plant is vasodilator, hypotensive. It has been used successfully in the treatment of severe chest pains due to coronary problems.

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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