Desert-Wise Living >> Desert-Wise Landscaping >> Plant Spotlight

Plant Spotlight: Hollyleaf Cherry

Hollyleaf cherry (Prunus Ilicifolia) is a native and drought-tolerant shrub for home landscapes in the Morongo Basin. It is the most widely distributed native subspecies of holly in California.  
flowering hollyleaf cherry bush with white flowers
This shrub can be pruned into a quite tall hedge and should be trimmed to shape twice a year if need be. The red cherries appear in fall and are edible if you get them before the birds do! The plant is evergreen with glossy leaves that smell like almonds when crushed. The leaves and branches are useful for holiday wreathes and arrangements. 
Hollyleaf cherry prefers a slightly moist soil although it does tolerate the dry desert. It is slow-growing but long-lived.


cherries ripening on branch of hollyleaf cherry shrub

Photo Courtesy of Steve Matson, CC 3.0 license

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