Olearia ilicifolia is an evergreen, much-branched large shrub or small tree, reaching 6–16 ft (1.8–5 m) high. The grey-green leaves are narrow and spear-shaped, 2–4 in (5–10 cm) long, with undulating and toothed edges. The flowers are white. Hardy in the UK.
Olearia ilicifolia is found in lowland to subalpine forest, and scrub, in North Island, South Island and Stewart Island. Like the closely related Olearia macrodonta, it is called New Zealand holly.