Holly branches, with bright red berries, have a long association in northern Europe with Christmas. Until the 17th century Holly was known as ‘Holy Tree’. Ilex was the ancient name for Quercus ilex (Holm Oak), while aquifolium means point (aqui) and leaf (folium), referring to the shape of the leaves.
It grows in deep shade on a wide range of well drained soil types, including light and heavy soils.
Male and female flowers on separate trees. Inconspicuous flowers with 4 white petals.
Elliptic oval leaf. Oval, wavy, pointed, spiky margins, 9 cm long.
Drupe: with outer fleshy parts, surrounding a pit with a seed inside, 9 mm.
Leaves: to treat fevers, bronchitis and rheumatism. Berries are a purgative.