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Tree to 10 m. Branchlets purplish black, glabrous, lenticels inconspicuous. Leaves evergreen, 7–13 × 3–4 cm, oblong or oblong-elliptic, leathery, glabrous, 10–14 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, veins slightly raised on both surfaces, margins entire, recurved, apex acuminate; petiole glabrous, 1–1.3 cm long. Flower details unrecorded. Infructescence cymose, solitary and axillary; fruiting peduncles 0.5–0.7 cm long, densely pubescent. Fruit one to three per infructescence, ellipsoidal, 0.5–0.7 cm diameter, with five pyrenes. Fruiting August to November (China). Chen et al. 2006. Distribution CHINA: Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Zhejiang. Habitat Evergreen broadleaved or pine forest between 500 and 1200 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT399.
The only specimen of Ilex linii traced in cultivation is at Ness. Growing healthily, it was over 2 m tall when seen in 2006, and has large, rather pale green leaves. It was received as seed from Shanghai Botanic Garden in 1985, under the name I. elmerrilliana S.Y. Hu; its first flowering and fruiting in 1996, however, led to its eventual identification as I. linii. It seems quite hardy in the windy conditions of Ness, where it has now grown outside for many years, and should clearly be attempted elsewhere.
In New Trees this was spelled limii, corrected for TSO in January 2021. No other specimens have been located and the Ness plant stubbornly refuses to be propagated (T. Baxter pers. comm. 2020).