Flower Files: Holly

Variegated Holly
Quick Notes /

Whether you call it holly, winterberry, inkberry, or yaupon this colorful green is a favorite through the winter. Holly is the general name used for a large number of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and tress that belong to the Aquifoliaceae family and grow in the tropics as well as temperate zones worldwide. The evergreen varieties tend to be more hearty and have a longer vase life than their deciduous counterparts. Holly are notable for their thick, leather-like leaves as well as the bright berries produced by the female holly plant.

Holly History/

Holly have a long history! The variety we know and love, begins to appear about 50 million years ago, while some of the older varieties are now extinct. Holly emerged from the laurel forest, which once covered much of the worlds surface and was able to spread and adapt to all sorts of climates. It’s bright colors and hardy nature captured the interest of many of our ancestors. It was particularly popular in Europe and considered good luck by ancient Druids. Holly was also significant to the ancient Romans who used holly boughs to decorate for the feast of Saturnalia. The practice of using holly boughs as winter decorations continues today in many countries around the word.

Holly Fun Facts /
  • Both the female and male plants produce white flowers, but only the female plants produce berries.
  • A holly tree can live up to 300 years!
  • Have you ever tried Yerba Mate tea? This is a product of the South American holly Ilex paraguarensis


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