Holly Plant Varieties

There are several hundred species of holly (Ilex), according to the University of Arkansas. Many of these species have several cultivars, or varieties. English holly alone has more than 200 varieties. Holly is desirable for its hardiness, ease of care and versatility. The species and varieties vary widely in size, shape and appearance.


Rotunda is a variety of Chinese holly (Ilex cornuta) that is exceptionally hardy, according to Texas A&M University. This plant has a rounded shape and works well as a stand-along shrub. It grows to a maximum height of 4 feet, with a maximum width of 8 feet. In addition to being compact, it tolerates heat and drought conditions. On the down side, it is very thorny. Rotunda does not produce berries.

First Lady

First lady is a variety of yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria). This plant features red berries that are produced in large amounts. The berries are very showy against winter snows. This is a smaller variety of yaupon holly, reaching a height and width of only 5 feet.


Burford holly is an American (Ilex opaca) variety that is widely used in landscaping, according to Texas A&M University. This plant has very dark, shiny green leaves with a spine at the tip. It produces a crop of deep red berries in the fall and winter and grows to a maximum height and width of 15 feet.

Nellie R. Stevens

This variety is unusual in that it is a hybrid of English and Chinese hollies, according to Clemson University. Nellie R. Stevens is a choice for a privacy screen. It features large, dark green leaves and equally large red berries. The leaves are edged with spines. This plant can reach heights of 20 feet and widths of 12 feet and is sometimes grown as a tree.

Keywords: types of holly, holly varieties, holly plant cultivars

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. She has worked as an educator and now writes academic research content for EBSCO Publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.