|Quercus ilex L.|
The Holm oak (also called Holly oak, Evergreen oak) is a large evergreen oak tree native to the Mediterranean region. Its botanic name is Quercus ilex L. The name ilex was the original (Roman) Latin name for this tree, but botanists have now used it for the holly genus.
A typical tree has ridged bark and leathery leaves. The leaves fall in June in the northern hemisphere, after new leaves emerge. Leaves are usually dark green above, and greyish and downy below. The leaf shape is variable on any tree, but those borne on lower branches and on young trees are often toothed or somewhat spiny. This is presumed to be for protection from grazing animals. In this, the foliage resembles that of the common European holly, (Ilex aquifolium), and this resemblance has led to its common and botanic names.
While it is can be grown in much of maritime northern Europe, it is not tolerant of cold continental winters. It can be clipped to form a tall hedge, and it is suitable for coastal windbreaks, in any well drained soil. It forms a picturesque rounded head, with pendulous low-hanging branches. Its size and solid evergreen character gives it a imposing architectural presence that makes it valuable in many urban and garden settings.