Ilex opaca 'Aiken Red' (standard)

Aiken Red American Holly

Many impressive specimens grace the streets of Aiken, SC., planted in the last century. The mature trees are tall and narrow with overlapping drapes of cascading foliage. The pendulous inclination presents the attractive topsides of the leaves, dark and lustrous, as opacas go. Red berries are abundant and reliable, even when there is no obvious male holly in the vicinity. Ours are grown as a single stem tree form. The name, ‘Aiken Red’, was given by noted plantsman, Ted Stephens. The tree has also appeared in the trade under the name ‘Selected Red’. It is difficult to know the name of the original cultivar, planted all those years ago, but Ted clearly made a good decision to reproduce those impressive trees.

Category: Medium screening tree; broadleaf evergreen
Hardiness: 6 to 9
Foliage: Nice dark Green, spiny
Fall Color: Red fruit on green foliage
Flower: Small, white, not impactful
Fruit: Nice red berries, numerous, reliable
Bark: Smooth gray, with lighter splotches
Texture: Fine
Mature Size: 35’ tall by 14’ wide
Growth Rate: Slow
Adaptability: Salt spray tolerant, a little wind protection for best winter foliage
Native Habitat: Southeastern states into eastern Texas, coastal areas up to Massachusetts