Holly Speckle - Trochila ilicina


This fungus forms a distinct, fine (<1mm diameter) dark speckling on dead holly leaves. It occurs on the upper side of the leaf only. The speckles (spore-producing structures) are first closed, and then open by a lid to expose the olive spore-mass, and finally appear as dry black, shiny depressions in the leaf, with a slightly raised lip.

Identification difficulty
Identification aids


Holly Speckle
Trochila ilicina
Phacidium lauri Phomopsis crustosa Microthyrium ciliatum
There are some nice comparison images of species 1, 2 and 4 here.
Small (<1mm) speckles on the upper side of the leaf only. Pustules (c.1.5mm) on upper and lower surfaces of the leaf. Immersed black conidiomata (0.5mm) on brown spots surrounded by a narrow black line. Tiny black speckles (<0.5mm) on both sides of the leaf.

Only grows on dead (brown) leaves of holly

When to see it

All year. The open lids are best seen December to February.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in Britain.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map