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Hollyleaf Redberry Back to Plant Page
Rhamnus ilicifolia

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About Hollyleaf Redberry (Rhamnus ilicifolia) Hollyleaf Redberry (Rhamnus ilicifolia) is a native shrub that grows in the foothills and mountains of southern and central California, the Sierra foothills, and in the foothills west of the Sacremento valley. It primarily grows at elevations from 500 - 6600 feet. It was formerly considered a subspecies of Rhamnus crocea but is now considered a separate species. Their ranges overlap considerably and they resemble each other superficially.

This plant is not too hard to grow if properly sited. Plant on rocky slopes, or at least with plenty of rocks surrounding it, in part shade or full sun. It seems to prefer part shade in the drier parts of its range. It can tolerate summer water up to 1x per month. However once established, it's usually happiest without any supplementary water, but in a spot where it can run its roots over to a an irrigated area or a place with a little more natural moisture, such as a creek or rain gully. The flowers are inconspicuous, and the plant is grown primarily for the fruits. If very happy, it can grow from a 1 gallon container to 3 feet tall in 2 years and will produce beautiful red berries in the spring. Its berries are an important food source for birds.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 - 9 ft (0.3 - 2.7 m)

Max. Width
3 - 9 ft (0.9 - 2.7 m)


Growth Rate


Flower Color
Yellow, Cream

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Rocky slopes, canyons as part of Chaparral, Oak Woodland, and Ponderosa Pine Forest

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-180' - 8003'

Annual Precip. ?
2.7" - 79.1"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 3.07"

Coldest Month ?
32.9° F - 59.1° F

Hottest Month ?
55.3° F - 88.3° F

Humidity ?
0.26 vpd - 39.15 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils but prefers rocky well drained soil

Soil PH
6.0 - 7.5

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0° F

Sunset Zones ?
7*, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20, 21, 22, 23

Wildlife Attracted
Numerous birds are attracted to the berries

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low, Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Fresh seeds need no treatment; stored seeds 2.5-3 mos. stratification.

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Rhamnus crocea ssp. ilicifolia

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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