Holly plant named ‘RutHol3’

A new Ilex plant named ‘RutHol3’ is characterized by a combination of its upright, narrow growth habit, its attractive burgundy new growth, its glossy green mature foliage, its quick growth and resistance to spider mites.

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Genus and species: Ilex crenata x I. maximowicziana.

Variety denomination: The new Ilex crenata x I. maximowicziana claimed is of the cultivar denominated ‘RutHol3’.


The present invention relates to a new and distinct cultivar of a Japanese holly plant named ‘RutHol3’. Seed was collected from an unnamed F1 seedling (female) from the original cross of Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ (unpatented female) x I. maximowicziana #10-8S (unpatented male parent) plant.

The new ‘RutHol3’ variety is a product of a planned breeding program conducted by the inventor (in Watkinsville, Ga.). The objective of the Ilex breeding program is to create new plant cultivars with novel forms of growth, good cold hardiness, and resistance to damage from spider mites, insects and diseases.

The new ‘RutHol3’ plant is thus a product of Ilex crenata x Ilex maximowicziana F1 seedlings. The cross was made in 2010. The collected seed was sown in fall of 2010 and 276 seedlings were taken to a research nursery in Dearing, Ga. in spring of 2012. ‘RutHol3’, one of the plants grown from the collected seed, was selected for further evaluation in summer of 2014. ‘RutHol3’ has been evaluated for container production since 2012.

‘RutHol3’ has been evaluated through trials at a horticultural farm in Watkinsville, Ga. from 2016.

Asexual reproduction of the new ‘RutHol3’ variety was by vegetative terminal cuttings in a controlled environment in Dearing, Ga. and Watkinsville, Ga. since 2014. Observations of the new variety have shown that the unique features of this new ‘RutHol3’ are stable and have reproduced true to type in successive generations.


The cultivar ‘RutHol3’ has not been observed under all possible environmental conditions. The phenotype may vary somewhat with variations in environment and cultural practices such as temperature and light intensity without, however, any variance in genotype.

The following represents the distinguishing characteristics of the new Ilex cultivar named ‘RutHol3’. In combination, these traits set ‘RutHol3’ apart from all other existing varieties of Ilex known to the inventor.

    • 1. ‘RutHol3’ exhibits an upright, narrow growth habit
    • 2. ‘RutHol3’ has a height:width ratio of about: 7:1
    • 3. ‘RutHol3’ is useful wherever vertical accent is needed in the garden
    • 4. ‘RutHol3’ exhibits attractive burgundy new growth
    • 5. The mature foliage of ‘RutHol3’ is glossy green in color
    • 6. ‘RutHol3’ grows faster than Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’


The accompanying colored photographic illustrations show the overall appearance and distinct characteristics of the new cultivar of ‘RutHol3’. The colors in the photographs are as close as possible with the photographic and printing technology utilized.

The photograph labeled FIG. 1 is a photograph of a three year old ‘RutHol3’ plant (three years from cutting) and depicts the overall plant habit of ‘RutHol3’.

The photograph labeled FIG. 2 depicts a close-up view of foliage of the ‘RutHol3’ plant of FIG. 1.


The new ‘RutHol3’ is a male plant, while, in contrast, Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ is a female plant. ‘RutHol3’ is a faster growing plant than ‘Sky Pencil’. In one growing trial, five year old (from cutting) ‘RutHol3’ plants growing in the ground averaged about 82 cm high, while comparable ‘Sky Pencil’ plants averaged about 46 cm high. The height to width ratio of Ilex maximowicziana #10-8S (unpatented) is much less than the height to with ratio of ‘RutHol3’. In comparison, an eight year old plant of this #10-8S variety had a height to width ratio of 0.6. Also, the leaves of the ‘RutHol3’ plant are larger than the leaves of both ‘Sky Pencil’ and Ilex maximowicziana #10-8S. The leaves of the new plant are typically from 3.0 cm to 3.5 cm long in comparison to leaves of these two other plants which are typically 2 cm to 3 cm long. The leaves of ‘Ruthol1’ (U.S. Plant Pat. No. 23,905) are typically 3.5 to 4.0 cm long and ‘Ruthol1’ has a smaller height to width ratio.


The following is a detailed description of the Ilex cultivar named ‘RutHol3’. Data was collected from plants growing in a horticultural farm at Watkinsville, Ga.; specifically from 3 year old plants grown outdoors in containers.

Throughout this specification, color names beginning with a small letter signify that the name of that color, as used in common speech, is aptly descriptive. Color names beginning with a capital letter designate values based upon The R.H.S. Colour Chart, 6th edition published in 2015 by The Royal Horticultural Society (R.H.S.), London, England.

  • Parentage:
      • Female parent.—Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ x Ilex maximowicziana (female).
      • Male parent.—Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ x Ilex maximowicziana (male).
  • Habit: Upright, evergreen shrub
  • Size of plant: 3-gal. plant 4 years from cutting.
      • A. Height.—133 cm.
      • B. Width.—19 cm.
  • Stem:
      • A. Color.—Yellow-Green 146D.
      • B. Length.—5-30 cm.
      • C. Diameter.—3 mm.
      • D. Texture/pubescence.—Moderately hispid.
      • E. Shape.—Ridged, 5-sided.
      • F. Odor (of bruised stem).—None.
      • G. Internode Length.—0.5-2 cm.
      • H. Stem strength.—Medium.
      • I. Branches.—20-30 main branches with 20-80 lateral branches per main branch.
  • Leaf:
      • A. Type.—Simple.
      • B. Color (R.H.S.).—1. Upper leaf surface: Green N137A. 2. Lower leaf surface: Yellow-Green 146C.
      • C. Mature size (l×w).—3-3.5 cm×1.2-1.5 cm.
      • D. Apex.—Acute.
      • E. Base.—Rounded.
      • F. Margin.—Serrulate.
      • G. Shape.—Elliptical.
      • H. Lobes (present/absent).—Absent.
      • I. Texture/pubescence.—Smooth, no pubescence (both surfaces).
      • J. Arrangement on stem.—Alternate.
      • K. Venation.—Pinnate.
      • L. Texture.—Leathery.
      • M. Aspect.—About 60°.
      • N. Odor when crushed.—None.
      • O. Leaves per lateral branch.—20-60.
  • Petiole:
      • A. Length.—4-5 mm.
      • B. Shape.—Oval.
      • C. Color (R.H.S.).—Yellow-Green 146D.
      • D. Texture/pubescence.—Moderately hispid.
      • E. Diameter.—1 mm.
      • F. Strength.—Weak.
  • Inflorescence:
      • A. Type.—Solitary in clusters of 2 to 4; male.
      • B. Number per plant.—5,000-10,000.
      • C. Longevity.—Late April to mid-May in Athens, Ga.
  • Flower:
      • A. Number per inflorescence.—1 — male.
      • B. Axillary or terminal.—Axillary.
      • C. Symmetry.—Regular.
      • D. Height and diameter (l×w).—2 mm×4 mm.
      • E. Fragrance.—None.
      • F. Bud.—1. Size (L×W): 1-1.5 mm×1-1.5 mm. 2. Shape: Round. 3. Color (R.H.S.): Yellow-Green 144A. 4. Texture/Pubescence: Smooth, no pubescence.
      • G. Blooms.—1. First bloom: late April. 2. Peak bloom: early May. 3. Longevity: 3-5 days.
      • H. Petals.—1. Number: 4. 2. Size (L×W): 2 mm×2 mm. 3. Shape: Obovate-rounded. 4. Apex: Round. 5. Base: Truncate. 6. Margin: Smooth, entire. 7. Color at Peak of Bloom (R.H.S.): Yellow-Green 145B with Yellow-Green 145D around margins. 8. Texture/Pubescence: Smooth, no pubescence. 9. Arrangement: Symmetrical.
      • I. Pedicels.—1. Color (R.H.S.): Yellow-Green 146A. 2. Texture/Pubescence: Smooth, no pubescence. 3. Length: 1.5-2 mm. 4. Aspect: Erect. 5. Strength: Very Weak.
      • J. Sepals.—1. Number: 4. 2. Size (L×W): 1 mm×2 mm. 3. Shape: Cuspidate. 4. Texture/Pubescence: Smooth, no hairs. 5. Color (R.H.S.): Yellow Green 144A. 6. Apex: Round. 7. Base: Truncate. 8. Margin: Sinuate.
      • K. Stamens.—1. Number: 4. 2. Anther: a) Size (L×W): 1 mm×1 mm. b) Shape: Oval. c) Color (R.H.S.): Greyed-Orange 165A. d) Texture/Pubescence: Smooth, no pubescence. 3. Filament: a) Size (L×W): 1 mm×0.5 mm. b) Color (R.H.S.): Green-White 157D. c) Texture/Pubescence: Smooth, no pubescence. 4. Pollen: a) Quantity: Moderate. b) Color (R.H.S.): Yellow 10C.
  • Pest and disease resistance: Resistant to spider mites (Tetranychus urticae).
  • Hardiness: Not fully determined. The plants have been grown in USDA zone 8a. Parental species have survived −5° F. with no damage in Blairsville, Ga.


1. A new and distinct cultivar of the Ilex plant named ‘RutHol3’ as illustrated and described herein.

Patent History
Patent number: PP32856
Type: Grant
Filed: Dec 5, 2019
Date of Patent: Mar 2, 2021
Assignee: University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. (Athens, GA)
Inventor: John M. Ruter (Watkinsville, GA)
Primary Examiner: Keith O. Robinson
Application Number: 16/602,828
Current U.S. Class: Holly (PLT/247)
International Classification: A01H 5/12 (20180101); A01H 6/00 (20180101);