Quercus ilex 'MATTEINI'

Quercus ilex
Quercus ilex 'MATTEINI'
holm oak, holly oak
SIZE/TYPE taller shrub
 medium-sized tree
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES +multicoloured:silver and green
FLOWERS insignificant or non-blooming
LOCATION full sun
SOIL TYPE any (acidic to alkaline)
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist (dislikes drought)
USDA zone (lowest) 6   (down to -23°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Evergreen broadleaf
Hedging plants
náhled fotonáhled fotonáhled foto
Holm oak or holly oak (holm is an old word for holly) is native to the Mediterranean and is spread from southern parts of Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, to west Balkan and milder parts of North Africa. It used to form vast areas of evergreen forests most of which are chopped down today. It was first described in 1753 and many sources until this day claim it is not drought tolerant. In fact it very drought tolerant once established which why it is commonly cultivated in heat-accumulated and paved city squares. In the wild it grows in altitudes from 0 to 1400 m above sea level.

Holm oak is a natural species, not a hybrid in spite of two specific names in its Latin title. Around 2000 Tranquillo Matteini discovered a single seedling of different characteristics in his nursery in Pistoia, Italy. After a few years of growing and testing it turned into a beautiful tree with larger foliage and well-behaved habit, and in 2009 underwent its first hardiness trial during an extremely cold winter. The plant received a variety name Matteini and a plant patent was applied for.
Matteini holm oak makes larger leaves compared to the species. They are 8-10 cm long, evergreen, oval to broadly elliptic, olive green and partially glossy above, silvery hairy underneath, and leathery. They emerge bright silvery grey in spring. Completely spinefree. Older trees produce small, elongated, dark brown, glossy acorns.

Young plants grow relatively fast, making some 40-50 cm per year in strictly upright, almost fastigiate habit. It turns to broadly oval shape with age if grown as a shrub. Trees form an almost rounded canopy which is very dense without pruning and cast a deep shade so desired in hot summers. Shrubs are used as long-lived hedges and windbreaks.

Holm oak is not too picky about soil type provided it is well drained. It can even take less fertile soil. Never plant it in heavy clay and water-logged sites where its roots may rot. Even moisture is needed in the first season after transplanting, then it will do with occasional rain. It loves sun and warmth, never plant it in exposed areas of zones 6 borderline. For cultivation in Central European conditions always look for plant with hardened wood which is not prone to frost damage. Pruning is possible in early spring. Matteini is significantly hardier than the species and has proved hardy down to -23°C (USDA zone 6).

Last update 29-08-2020

Quercus ilex
Quercus ilex
Elaeagnus x ebbingei
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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