The Ilex is also known as the Holm Oak, or the evergreen Oak.
Both these names are really better than Ilex, because Ilex is the scientific name for the holly and this tree is an oak and not a holly.
It was introduced into Britain from the Mediterranean in the sixteenth century and is only grown as an ornamental tree.
The bark is thin and jet black.
The leaves are dark green and leathery, oval in shape, and sometimes spiny.
They do look rather like the leaves of the holly, which is why the tree has got its popular name.
The leaves last for two years, so the tree is always green; and the acorns stay on the tree for eighteen months, falling in their second winter.
The Ilex is a small tree, rarely growing to more than thirty-five feet high.
The timber is very dense, hard and heavy.
It is sometimes used for cabinet-making.