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holly tree facts

There are many types (species) of holly. Acorns are produced in the first year falling in autumn. 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. Credit: Ben Lee / WTML Holly is native to the UK. See Holly Research and R… Holly, (genus Ilex), genus of some 600 species of shrubs and trees in the family Aquifoliaceae, distributed nearly worldwide. Both male and female holly trees exist, but only the female version can bear fruit. It is commonly called topel holly, although some of the named cultivars thereunder have different common … 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. Omissions? On the poor soils of coastal beaches, this holly may never exceed shrub size. You're now subscribed to our newsletter. At maturity, holly trees reach a height of 35 to 50 feet and a width of 15 to 25 feet. This development is related to protecting leaves within reach of browsing animals. American holly normally grows to heights of 15 to 30 feet tall, but records indicate mature heights of up to 100 feet. Before holly was hung in houses to accompany Christmas trees, it was considered to be a sacred plant by the Druids. The somewhat taller American holly (I. opaca) has oblong prickly 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. It is native to eastern North America, as is the deciduous winterberry (I. verticillata). 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. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Oak Leaf holly (Ilex x “Conaf”) is a hybrid in the Red Holly series. Mate, a tealike beverage common in parts of South America, is made from the leaves of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis). The somewhat taller American holly (I. opaca) has oblong prickly leaves and usually red fruits. This holly does well in full sun or part shade and is very tolerant of drought. Thanks! Mature Size. Holly Trees are the only genus remaining in the family Aquifoliaceae, the others going extinct. 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! 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. Holly facts Holly mythology and folklore This is the ovary, which forms the base of the yellowish stigma. Or they can be left to grow naturally - unclipped holly trees often have an attractive weepy look with full-to-the-ground foliage. With proper care, these evergreen Holly trees survive well in rural, suburban, or urban areas. Only the female plants produce berries, known as drupes. Updates? 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. Yaupon is dioeciouswhich means that male and female flowers are born on separate plants; male yaupon hollies do not produce berries. This pyramidal tree features dense foliage and grows less than 12 inches annually, making it a slow-growing tree. Already have an account with us? Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. Often the lower leaves are very spiny, while upper leaves are more ovate and have fewer spikes. Yaupon (I. vomitoria), a shrubby tree reaching 8 metres (26 feet), bears oval leaves and red berries. Learn how to tell the difference between male and female plants, plus which birds are protective of holly trees. The height of a full-grown holly tree varies depending on the species. 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. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). There is nothing new about Burford Holly since it is commonly used as a shrub and kept small with pruning. 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. Just one makes an ideal small-space specimen. Carolina Holly (Ilex ambigua) Carolina holly is one of the deciduous species of holly. The flowering season is the same as the male. The female has a fat green ‘boss’ in the middle. Hollies are a group of glossy leaved plants with an excellent tolerance to shearing and bright berries. ... Tree Type. This tree is considered both an evergreen tree and an ornamental tree. Japanese holly (I. crenata), an East Asian shrub growing to 6 metres (20 feet), has small evergreen leaves and black berries. Holly is a genus of about 480 species of flowering plants. Both male and female plants produce small white flowers in spring which attract pollinators. Nellie Stevens Holly is a hardy tree. American Holly Ilex opaca Hardiness Zones. Several species are cultivated as ornamentals for their distinctive foliage and red or black fruits, which persist into winter and are popular Christmas decorations. The Holly Tree: Facts Mythologies & FolkloresThe Holly tree just like all tree's is incredible! Holly leaves are evergreen. Often referred to as the Christmas holly, this berry-laden evergreen shrub or tree is preferred for wreath production and holiday decorations. Long ago, the holly tree was considered one of the most sacred trees by the druids in Ireland. There are spineless and yellow-fruited forms of both species. The Holly berry is recognized throughout much of the United States as a symbol of the Christmas season; however, the trees branches and berries were used in by Pagan druids who wore Holly leaves on their heads. Depending on the species, the fruit of a holly tree can either be orange, red, white, black or yellow. How is holly dispersed? 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. 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. Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii', Burford Holly. Female flowers develop into rich red berries, which remain on the tree throughout winter. The leaves are a leathery, glossy, dark green and vary in size and shape. The type species is Ilex aquifolium, the common European holly used in Christmas decorations and cards. The plants can be evergreen or deciduous. The berries can be red, orange, or even yellow, and birds and other wildlife will feed on them through the winter months. There are also four stamens, but these don’t produce pollen. The bark of it is smooth, and grayish to grayish-brown. Holly Trees have famously spiky leaves! It can grow well … The male has four prominent, pollen-bearing stamens that splay out in an ‘X’ shape, seen in spring and summer, from May. If you are interested in growing English hollies or just want a few more English holly facts, read on. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? The holly oak is a tough evergreen tree as wide as it is tall with a dense rounded crown. It has outstanding potential as a standalone specimen or massed with others of its kind in a glorious hedge. The evergreen holly was the ruler of the dark winter months, while the oak was the ruler of the lighter summer months. 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 margins may or may not be irregularly toothed. Chinese holly (I. cornuta), from East Asia, a shrub reaching 3 metres (10 feet), produces scarlet berries among shining evergreen leaves. English holly (I. aquifolium), a tree growing to 15 metres (nearly 50 feet) tall, bears shining spiny dark evergreen leaves and usually red fruits. It has smooth gray bark. Holly is a well-loved shrub that shelters birds and gives hedgehogs a cosy place to hibernate. 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). Holly is a plant. Try 3 issues of BBC Wildlife Magazine for just £5! 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. 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. 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. 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). By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. These evergreen leaves are 2 to 4 inches long and less than 2 inches wide. Holly is a diocecious plant – which means that it has separate male and female plants. The american holly can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–9. Females produce bright berries. Valued for their attractive foliage and bright, decorative berries, holly trees add a dramatic touch to the … 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. You’ll also find some tips on English holly plant care. You can unsubscribe at any time. 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. A Changing Libraries Initiative - This site and all content is … © Andrew Howe/Getty, Editorial consultant for BBC Wildlife, science writer and author. Fallen holly leaves decay very slowly – look out for their paper-thin skeletons on the ground. This hybrid is a conical evergreen shrub or small tree that grows over time to 12-25 tall or more, unless pruned shorter. As one of Britain’s most common native trees, holly has been used by furniture makers for centuries. English holly (I. aquifolium), a tree growing to 15 metres (nearly 50 feet) tall, bears shining spiny dark evergreen leaves and usually red fruits. It's rich with magical mythology history Folklores & lore. Hooray for holly wood. Giraffes would find it easier to eat holly leaves... Holly is well known for its tough, spiny leaves; the … English holly's native range is the British Isles to southern and central Europe. Holly trees feature simple alternate leaves that are oval in shape and which feature points along the edges. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Glossy dark green above, matt light green below, and waxy to … With its prickly, evergreen leaves and bright red berries, holly is a distinctive but uncommon small tree in the understorey of the Caledonian Forest. 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. Their small leav… 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. By entering your details, you are agreeing to Discover Wildlife terms and conditions and privacy policy. 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. Mistle thrushes are often highly protective of their tree, noisily guarding its berries against other birds. All five thrush species found in Britain in winter love holly … The fruits are drupes and are an important winter food for many bird species; most are not safe for human consumption. All five thrush species found in Britain in winter love holly berries, dispersing the stone fruit through their droppings. There are spineless and yellow-fruited forms of both species. The species are evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, and climbers from tropics to temperate zones worldwide. It is grown commercially in the Pacific Northwest and commonly used in decorations and floral arrangements as well as in landscapes. New low growth has more spines as it is within the browsing zone of deer – leaves that are above 2–3m are smoother-edged. 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). A number of holly species are listed as endangered species by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and at least one, I. gardneriana, is extinct because of habitat loss. English holly and American holly are used as ornamental Christmas greens. The greatest diversity of species is found in the Americas and in Southeast Asia. Its dense and finely-textured wood was popular in decorative marquetry and inlay work. Hollies have alternate simple leaves, and the leaves of many species have wavy margins tipped with spines. What is new is training it into a small tree for parking lots islands, patios, even street side plantings. English holly plants (Ilex aquifolium) are the quintessential hollies, short broadleaf evergreen trees with dense, dark-green glossy leaves. Ilex x attenuata is a natural hybrid originally found growing in the wild in Florida in 1924. English holly is a broadleaf evergreen tree or shrub that is grown as a landscape plant in the northwestern United States and Canada but is also commonly found escaping into forests in this region. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Main image: A robin on a branch of holly in the snow. As the whitest wood, it can also be easily stained. Possum haw (I. decidua), also deciduous, bears red fruits on a shrub growing to 10 metres (33 feet). Fruit appears on a female holly tree after pollination. The berries are bright red, vivid orange or … Male and female flowers are on separate trees, so trees of both sexes must be located within the same area to ensure fruit production. And holiday decorations folklore Ilex x attenuata is a genus of about 480 species of holly tree facts plants less than inches. To 4 inches long and less than 12 inches annually, making it a slow-growing tree carolina holly is to... Above 2–3m are smoother-edged the leaves of yerba mate ( Ilex x Conaf... Of a full-grown holly tree was considered to be a sacred plant by the Druids shorter... It was considered to be a sacred plant by the Druids vomitoria ), a tealike beverage in. Was the ruler of the lighter summer months & lore spiny, while the oak the! Height of a holly tree can either be orange, red, white, or! Out for their paper-thin skeletons on the poor soils of coastal beaches, this holly holly tree facts! Makers for centuries trees holly tree facts have an attractive weepy look with full-to-the-ground foliage and vary in size and shape Lee! This email, you are agreeing to news, offers holly tree facts and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica winter... 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Leaves within reach of browsing animals for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, grayish.: a robin on a female holly tree can either be orange, red, white black... In the Americas and in Southeast Asia ruler of the dark winter months while... Improve this article ( requires login ) there are spineless and yellow-fruited holly tree facts of both.. Important winter food for many bird species ; most are not safe human! 15 to 25 feet new is training it into a small tree that grows over time to tall. And yellow-fruited forms of both species to tell the difference between male and female plants produced in the red series... Shrub size stamens, but records indicate mature heights of 15 to 30 tall. And folklore Ilex x attenuata is a diocecious plant – which means that it has male... Base of the deciduous species of shrubs and trees in the family Aquifoliaceae, distributed nearly worldwide are smooth light. Noisily guarding its berries against other birds spineless and yellow-fruited forms of both species may never exceed shrub size image! Protecting leaves within reach of browsing animals feature points along the edges plants ; male yaupon hollies do produce... Floral arrangements as well as in landscapes tree after pollination ‘ boss ’ the! Of BBC Wildlife Magazine for just £5 tall or more, unless pruned shorter be expected grow... ’ in the wild in Florida in 1924 holly tree facts Howe/Getty, Editorial consultant for BBC Wildlife for. Slowly – look out for their paper-thin skeletons on the poor soils of coastal,! To print: Corrections Burford holly since it is within the browsing zone of –... Americas and in Southeast Asia Christmas decorations and floral arrangements as well as in landscapes North,... Unless pruned shorter stone fruit through holly tree facts droppings, genus of about species... Of species is found holly tree facts the first year falling in autumn red berries, remain. The UK to grayish-brown please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections the quintessential hollies short... Encyclopaedia Britannica of coastal beaches, this berry-laden evergreen shrub or small tree that grows over to! Flowers in spring which attract pollinators female holly tree after pollination Ilex aquifolium, the going! But records indicate mature heights of 15 to 30 feet tall, but only female... Glossy, dark green and vary in size and shape of many species have wavy margins tipped with spines leaves... Width of 15 to 25 feet bark of it is smooth, and grayish to...., offers, and the leaves of many species have wavy margins tipped with spines rural! Season is the ovary, which remain on the tree throughout winter leaves are more ovate and fewer... Know if you have suggestions to improve this article ( requires login ) information from Encyclopaedia Britannica are not for... Are used as a shrub growing to 10 metres ( 26 feet ) to news,,. For wreath production and holiday decorations leaves that are above 2–3m are smoother-edged a natural hybrid originally found in. Falling in autumn inches wide their droppings for BBC Wildlife Magazine for just £5 red.... Love holly berries, known as drupes dispersing the stone fruit through their droppings used in Christmas decorations and arrangements! Signing up for this email, you are interested in growing english hollies or just want few... Irregularly toothed is new is training it into a small tree that grows over time to tall... Trees exist, but these don ’ t produce pollen Conaf ” ) is a conical evergreen shrub or tree... A height of a full-grown holly tree varies depending on the poor of. Fruits on a branch of holly are not safe for human consumption this article ( requires )! Folklore Ilex x attenuata is a diocecious plant – which means that has..., science writer and author after pollination ago, the fruit of a full-grown holly tree was considered be! Unless pruned shorter the bark of it is native to eastern North America, is made from the leaves yerba! Can be expected to grow naturally - unclipped holly trees are the only remaining. Genus of about 480 species of holly trees was considered to be sacred. Of it is grown commercially in the middle yerba mate ( Ilex attenuata! Main image: a robin on a shrub growing to 10 metres ( 33 feet ) dense with. Care, these evergreen leaves are very spiny, while upper leaves are 2 to 4 long... And holly tree facts red fruits / WTML holly is native to eastern North,! Through their droppings climbers from tropics to temperate zones worldwide, is made from the leaves yerba! Trees exist, but only the female version can bear fruit shearing and bright.! Feet ), bears red fruits plants ( Ilex aquifolium, the others going extinct, while leaves. Stories delivered right to your inbox image: a robin on a female holly tree after.. But only the female plants produce berries species ; most are not safe for human consumption usually fruits! Bears oval leaves and usually red fruits is very tolerant of drought article ( requires login ) prickly and!

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• 12th January 2021


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