Tree Information



Wet Soil: Low

Dry Soil: Medium

Lime: Medium

Ilex x altaclerensis ‘James G. Esson’, commonly known as James G. Esson holly, is an attractive evergreen tree. An American-raised selection named in 1949 after James G. Esson, a renowned horticulturalist and plant breeder.

One of the prominent features of this holly is its glossy, dark green foliage. The leaves are soft rounded with a serrated margin and, unlike English holly, are almost spineless and without points. They create an elegant backdrop throughout the year and provide a visually appealing contrast against other plants. The evergreen nature of this holly ensures that it retains its foliage even during the winter months, adding colour and interest to the landscape.

In late spring, James G. Esson holly will produce small, inconspicuous white flowers that are followed by bright red berries. These are especially attractive to birds, making this cultivar a valuable addition to wildlife.

With its beautiful foliage, compact size and year-round interest, the Ilex x altaclerensis ‘James G. Esson’ is a versatile and visually appealing tree that can be used as a specimen plant, a hedge, or as a part of a mixed boarder. Its aesthetic appeal and adaptability make it a favoured choice for adding structure and colour to landscapes.

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6m high x 3m wide after 25 years


A fantastic costal tree. Will also make good hedging or screening.


Dense, pyramidal growth habit.


Dark green soft, rounded leaves which are almost spinless and without points.


Small white flowers in late spring.


Bright red berries.


Thrives in well-drained soils and prefers a partially shaded to full sun location. It is adaptable to various soil types, including clay, loam, and sand, and can tolerate a range of pH levels.


Pollinators are attracted to white flowers. Birds are a fan of the red berries.

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