The Holly oak grows into a large evergreen tree with a dense canopy habit, 30-60 ft. tall and as wide. Leathery leaves are dull green above, white below, and have intermittent spines on the margins. Pointed acorns are round, 1 in. long with the base often covering half the nut. Young trees develop an upright habit for the first 15-20 years before broadening into a rounded shape as they mature.
Holly oak comes from the Mediterranean region of Europe, including the western Himalayas where heat, cold and seasonal drought are common. It is a highly adaptable species that has been widely planted across the Inland Empire along streets, in parks and in residential landscapes . It shows good tolerance to heat and aridity like our native oaks, but has a greater tolerance for summer irrigation. Many trees have been planted in lawns and gardens for deep summertime shade.