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An evergreen tree to about 35 ft high in the wild, glabrous in all its parts. Leaves leathery, glossy above, dull beneath, ovate-lanceolate to elliptic, 2 to 6 in. long, 5⁄8 to 2 in. wide, rounded or broadly wedge-shaped at the base, acute or shortly acuminate at the apex, margins bluntly toothed (but spiny on young plants); petioles 3⁄16 to 3⁄8 in. long. Male and female inflorescences both consisting of dense axillary clusters. Fruits red, about 1⁄8 in. wide, but numerous in each cluster; nutlets four, wrinkled and faintly ribbed.
Native of W. and S.W. China; introduced by Wilson from Hupeh around 1900, when collecting for Veitch’s nursery (seed number 781), and later reintroduced by Forrest from Yunnan. There is an example at Trewithen in Cornwall, 30 ft high (1971).
Susyn Andrews has pointed out that the plant raised in Veitch’s Coombe Wood nursery from Wilson 434, and identified by Mr Bean as I. aquifolium var. chinensis, was in fact I. corallina and that plants at present grown under that name (or as I. centrochinensis) are also I. corallina (Kew Magazine, Vol. 1, p. 47 (1984)).