Holm Oak

┬ęChris Guise

Holm oak

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Scientific name: Quercus ilex
The Holm oak is an introduced species that has been widely planted near the coast and in parkland. It is self-seeding in the south of the UK. Its young leaves are spiny like Holly leaves, and it produces acorns.

Top facts


Height: up to 20m

Conservation status

Introduced, but naturalised species.

When to see

January to December


Introduced from the Mediterranean in the 16th century, the Holm oak is a tall, evergreen tree that has been widely planted. Like our native oaks, it produces acorns (on short stalks) which are dispersed by wildlife. It often survives by the coast, tolerating salt-spray from the sea, but is prone to die or lose its leaves during severe frosts. For this reason, it's more common in the south.

What to look for

The Holm oak is an evergreen oak tree. It has dark, glossy leaves that are oval and concave in shape, and spiny on younger trees or new shoots.

Where to find

Widely planted.

Did you know?

The acorns of oak trees are a favourite food of the brightly coloured Jay; they will often cache their finds for the coming winter, but may forget where they have buried them, allowing the acorns a chance to grow into saplings.