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Pollination of Hollies

23rd February, 2011

Pollination of Hollies
My thanks to Sean for his interesting Holly question; Do hollies need to be of the same species for pollination to succeed.

No Sean,

It is not really correct you need the same species for pollination. Hollies are quite promiscuous by nature, they will readily cross with other species. much work has been done in past years with hollies.

Golden King is of the species altaclerensis, its forms are effectively the result of a cross between any chosen variety of aquifolium and Ilex perado. This is why all altaclerensis are prefixed with an x.......they are all back crosses.

Without waffling on further, pollination between your varieties is 100% fine, your aquifolium will also pollinate your Chestnut Leafed holly.

The blue meservae types such as "Blue Angel" can also be pollinated by aquifolium. The ratio of males to females is about 1 male for 12 females....and it doesn't even look knackered.

One note of caution. Ensure your Silver Queen is not the female argentea marginata which is likely the case if of Dutch origin as they do not reliably differentiate between the two. Most garden centres buy in Dutch hollies. I cannot tell you a way as they look just about the same to fact I have a lovely big plant that I thought was silver queen that has had a fine crop of berries this year and i am really pissed off about it. This is why I always recommend Golden Queen (See image) as a pollinator....A fine aquifolium but very prickly.

I hope this helps.........Best wishes, Malcolm

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