Itea ilicifolia – Hollyleaf Sweetspire –


Itea –

There are about 10 species of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and small trees, not widely cultivated, in this genus. They occur from woodlands and swamps in Eastern Asia, with species occurring in Eastern North America.   Grown for their holly like leaves, attractive autumn colors, and small, fragrant white, cream, or green-white flowers, the leaves are toothed and arranged alternately. Flowers are borne in axillary or terminal, catkin like, many flowered racemes or panicles in fall. Grow evergreen species in sheltered spot in a shrub border. Grow in a shrub or mixed border.

Grow evergreen species in fertile, moist but well drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Grow I. virginica in moist, slightly acidic soil in partial shade to full. They dislike dry soils.

I. ilicifolia – Hollyleaf Sweetspire – This erect, then spreading, evergreen shrub from Western China grows 10-15′ feet tall and 10′ feet wide. From arching shoots it carries holly-like oval to elliptic, spiny toothed, glossy, dark green leaves, 2-4″ long. From mid summer to early autumn it bears honey scented, small, greenish white flowers, 1/4″ across, are held in pendent, catkin like racemes, to 15″ long. It does best in moist, deep, rich soil, preferring partial shade.

Zones 7-9