Site address
(not postal)

Woodcroft Wildspace
Downes Court


N21 3PT
leaves and berries

HOLLY (Ilex)

The holly is a genus of about 400 species of flowering plants in the family Aquifoliaceae. The leaves may be evergreen or deciduous depending on the species. Holly is slow growing, taking 20 years to reach 15 feet. The English variety is Ilex aquifolium and is evergreen with dark spiny leaves.

Holly is susceptible to cold and frost.

The tree-type hollies, which grow to a height of about 40 feet, are desirable landscape plants from which branches may be cut for decorative use.

It flowers in April and May and the red berries appear in July but do not ripen until June the following year. The leaves and berries are mildly toxic to humans and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea if ingested. However they provide an important source of food for birds and other wildlife. The leaves may be used as food for cattle.

Holly is used as a traditional Christmas decoration, often in wreaths.

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