holly tree facts

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Holly, (genus Ilex), genus of some 600 species of shrubs and trees in the family Aquifoliaceae, distributed nearly worldwide. The single or clustered, usually greenish small flowers are unisexual and have four petals, and the male and female flowers are usually borne on separate plants. Youpon holly is one of the more tolerant of the holly shrubs, doing well in a variety of soil types, moisture levels, pH levels, and sun exposures. The holly, or Ilex, genus consists of a large group of evergreen and deciduous trees that range in size from 18 inches to more than 50 feet tall. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. English holly (I. aquifolium), a tree growing to 15 metres (nearly 50 feet) tall, bears shining spiny dark evergreen leaves and usually red fruits. The Eagleston Holly has a dense canopy with small slender branches which are smooth and light to medium gray in color. Possum haw (I. decidua), also deciduous, bears red fruits on a shrub growing to 10 metres (33 feet). Its dense and finely-textured wood was popular in decorative marquetry and inlay work. Japanese holly (I. crenata), an East Asian shrub growing to 6 metres (20 feet), has small evergreen leaves and black berries. Often referred to as the Christmas holly, this berry-laden evergreen shrub or tree is preferred for wreath production and holiday decorations. Giraffes would find it easier to eat holly leaves... Holly is well known for its tough, spiny leaves; the … The margins may or may not be irregularly toothed. Try 3 issues of BBC Wildlife Magazine for just £5! Hooray for holly wood. Fallen holly leaves decay very slowly – look out for their paper-thin skeletons on the ground. The species are evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, and climbers from tropics to temperate zones worldwide. Omissions? Ilex x attenuata is a natural hybrid originally found growing in the wild in Florida in 1924. Valued for their attractive foliage and bright, decorative berries, holly trees add a dramatic touch to the … It has outstanding potential as a standalone specimen or massed with others of its kind in a glorious hedge. The greatest diversity of species is found in the Americas and in Southeast Asia. American Holly Ilex opaca Hardiness Zones. All five thrush species found in Britain in winter love holly … Botanically speaking, the fruit is the hard ‘stone’ at the centre, the exocarp is the red outer skin and the mesocarp is the fleshy orange layer in between. Like many other hollies, yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) is an evergreen shrub or tree that is loved for the colorful berries it produces on the female plants. By entering your details, you are agreeing to Discover Wildlife terms and conditions and privacy policy. Holly is a well-loved shrub that shelters birds and gives hedgehogs a cosy place to hibernate. Or they can be left to grow naturally - unclipped holly trees often have an attractive weepy look with full-to-the-ground foliage. On the poor soils of coastal beaches, this holly may never exceed shrub size. The Eagleston Holly can be used for a variety of landscape settings as either a tall screen or a solitary specimen when grown with a single trunk in tree form. Often the lower leaves are very spiny, while upper leaves are more ovate and have fewer spikes. With proper care, these evergreen Holly trees survive well in rural, suburban, or urban areas. It's rich with magical mythology history Folklores & lore. Already have an account with us? Mistle thrushes are often highly protective of their tree, noisily guarding its berries against other birds. Chinese holly (I. cornuta), from East Asia, a shrub reaching 3 metres (10 feet), produces scarlet berries among shining evergreen leaves. Ilex / ˈ aɪ l ɛ k s /, or holly, is a genus of about 480 species of flowering plants in the family Aquifoliaceae, and the only living genus in that family.The species are evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, and climbers from tropics to temperate zones worldwide. This holly does well in full sun or part shade and is very tolerant of drought. With between 400 and 600 species, it is unsurprising the genus consists of evergreens and deciduous trees spanning between low ground cover, shrubs, climbing vines, and tall trees. The somewhat taller American holly (I. opaca) has oblong prickly leaves and usually red fruits. Holly trees feature simple alternate leaves that are oval in shape and which feature points along the edges. How is holly dispersed? Learn how to tell the difference between male and female plants, plus which birds are protective of holly trees. Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. It is commonly called topel holly, although some of the named cultivars thereunder have different common … Holly guide: why it has leaves in winter, and which plants have berries, Iceberg guide: how they form, where they’re found, and how they’re used by wildlife, Corvids of the UK: how to identify, where to see them, and whether they are intelligent, Mistletoe guide: how it survives on other plants, and folklore associated with it, European robin guide: diet, habitat and species facts. English holly plants (Ilex aquifolium) are the quintessential hollies, short broadleaf evergreen trees with dense, dark-green glossy leaves. The plants can be evergreen or deciduous. In general, holly trees can grow between 6 and 18 m (20 and 60 feet) once fully mature, while holly shrubs can grow between 30 cm and 6 m (1 and 20 feet). All five thrush species found in Britain in winter love holly berries, dispersing the stone fruit through their droppings. Hollies have alternate simple leaves, and the leaves of many species have wavy margins tipped with spines. See Holly Research and R… Only the female plants produce berries, known as drupes. There are spineless and yellow-fruited forms of both species. This is the ovary, which forms the base of the yellowish stigma. Several states list Nellie Stevens Hollies on approved urban planting lists, as this Holly is a fast-growing vegetative screen, which is both drought tolerant and pollutant tolerant. Holly is a key foodplant for about 30 species of invertebrate, including the caterpillars of insects such as the holly blue butterfly (adult pictured below) and privet hawkmoth. You're now subscribed to our newsletter. Several species are cultivated as ornamentals for their distinctive foliage and red or black fruits, which persist into winter and are popular Christmas decorations. There are spineless and yellow-fruited forms of both species. It can grow well … Before holly was hung in houses to accompany Christmas trees, it was considered to be a sacred plant by the Druids. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. This tree is considered both an evergreen tree and an ornamental tree. Glossy dark green above, matt light green below, and waxy to … New low growth has more spines as it is within the browsing zone of deer – leaves that are above 2–3m are smoother-edged. This development is related to protecting leaves within reach of browsing animals. Holly facts Home Into the Forest Trees, Plants & Animals Trees Holly Holly facts With its prickly, evergreen leaves and bright red berries, holly (Ilex aquifolium) is a distinctive but uncommon small tree in the understorey of the Caledonian Forest. Oak Leaf holly (Ilex x “Conaf”) is a hybrid in the Red Holly series. © Andrew Howe/Getty, Editorial consultant for BBC Wildlife, science writer and author. Carolina Holly (Ilex ambigua) Carolina holly is one of the deciduous species of holly. There are many types (species) of holly. A Changing Libraries Initiative - This site and all content is … As one of Britain’s most common native trees, holly has been used by furniture makers for centuries. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The somewhat taller American holly (I. opaca) has oblong prickly leaves and usually red fruits. Mature Size. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? It is grown commercially in the Pacific Northwest and commonly used in decorations and floral arrangements as well as in landscapes. The berries can be red, orange, or even yellow, and birds and other wildlife will feed on them through the winter months. Holly leaves are evergreen. Introduction: American holly is a broad-leaf evergreen with a beautiful shape, but with a variety of insect and disease problems.The tree offers clusters of red berries that persist throughout fall and winter. The female has a fat green ‘boss’ in the middle. Nellie Stevens Holly is a hardy tree. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The holly oak is a tough evergreen tree as wide as it is tall with a dense rounded crown. According to the Holly Society, “We now know that the spines on the distinctively-shaped holly leaves can act as miniature lightning conductors, thereby protecting the tree and other nearby objects.” So feel free to prune your holly and cut branches for the holidays, but you might be tempting fate to cut it down entirely! Holly Trees are the only genus remaining in the family Aquifoliaceae, the others going extinct. Yaupon (I. vomitoria), a shrubby tree reaching 8 metres (26 feet), bears oval leaves and red berries. It is a cross between I. cassine (dahoon) and I. opaca (American holly), both of which parents share native territory in the far southeastern U.S. (particularly from coastal North Carolina to Florida). The bark of it is smooth, and grayish to grayish-brown. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Gardening Australia - Ilex, holly - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), holly - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). The american holly can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–9. Like other hollies, this species is dioecious (separate male and female plants), so you will need to plant a male pollinator in order for this shrub to flower and bear fruit. There is nothing new about Burford Holly since it is commonly used as a shrub and kept small with pruning. Thanks! Holly is a diocecious plant – which means that it has separate male and female plants. As you scan a list of holly tree facts, you may think that one of the most charming qualities of the American holly (Ilex opaca) is its diversity. With its prickly, evergreen leaves and bright red berries, holly is a distinctive but uncommon small tree in the understorey of the Caledonian Forest. The height of a full-grown holly tree varies depending on the species. There are also four stamens, but these don’t produce pollen. The Holly Tree: Facts Mythologies & FolkloresThe Holly tree just like all tree's is incredible! The flowering season is the same as the male. If you are interested in growing English hollies or just want a few more English holly facts, read on. You can unsubscribe at any time. The fruits are drupes and are an important winter food for many bird species; most are not safe for human consumption. At maturity, holly trees reach a height of 35 to 50 feet and a width of 15 to 25 feet. English holly (I. aquifolium), a tree growing to 15 metres (nearly 50 feet) tall, bears shining spiny dark evergreen leaves and usually red fruits. These evergreen leaves are 2 to 4 inches long and less than 2 inches wide. Both male and female plants produce small white flowers in spring which attract pollinators. This pyramidal tree features dense foliage and grows less than 12 inches annually, making it a slow-growing tree. The berries are bright red, vivid orange or … East Palatka holly grows 35 to 40 feet tall, according to the University of Florida, and is a hybrid of Ilex cassine -- the Dahoon holly -- and Ilex opaca, American holly. Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii', Burford Holly. Hollies can be shrubby or tree like, shaped for a manicured appearance into teardrops, lollipops (like the East Palatka holly pictured above) or even small shade trees. 'S native range is the same as the whitest wood, it was one. Rural, suburban, or urban areas but these don ’ t produce pollen is nothing new about holly. Is one of Britain ’ s most common native trees, shrubs and... The lighter summer months hybrid is a diocecious plant – which means that it has outstanding potential as a specimen. 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