An evergreen tree occasionally 30 ft high, or in cultivation more often a shrub, with downy young bark. Leaves stiff and leathery, 2 to 4 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, oblong, lanceolate or obovate, tapering at the base to a thick downy stalk 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, the margins set with stiff teeth, each tipped with a small black gland. Flowers produced very numerously in a large, flattish panicle, composed of corymbose clusters terminating the shoot, and in the axils of the uppermost leaves. Each flower is from 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. diameter; petals pure white; calyx-tube with glabrous, triangular lobes; stamens ten. Fruits about the size of holly berries, bright red, tasting like common haws.
Native of California; introduced by Menzies in 1796. It is a handsome evergreen, but unfortunately not reliably hardy. It may be grown on a wall, but is, of course, at its best in the open where the climate is suitable. In California the fruit-covered branches are used for Christmas decorations as we use holly.