Common Types Of Holly Shrubs: Learn About Different Holly Plant Varieties

By: Jackie Carroll

The holly family (Ilex spp.) includes a diverse group of shrubs and trees. You’ll find plants that grow only 18 inches (46 cm.) tall as well as trees as tall as 60 feet (18.2 m.). The leaves may be hard and spiny or soft to the touch. Most are dark green, but you can also find purple tints and variegated forms. With so much variation in holly varieties, you’re sure to find one to fill your landscape need. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of hollies.

Holly Plant Varieties

There are two common types of holly categories: evergreen and deciduous. Here are some popular types of holly shrubs to grow in the landscape.

Evergreen Hollies

Chinese Holly (I. cornuta) – These evergreen shrubs have dark green leaves with pronounced spines. Chinese holly shrubs tolerate hot temperatures but sustain winter damage in areas colder than USDA plant hardiness zone 6. The different types of hollies in this group include ‘Burfordii,’ which is one of the most popular cultivars for hedges, and ‘O. Spring,’ a variegated type with irregular bands of yellow on the leaves.

Japanese Holly (I. crenata) – Japanese hollies are generally softer in texture than Chinese hollies. They come in a range of shapes sizes with endless uses in the landscape. These hollies don’t do well in areas with hot summers, but they tolerate colder temperatures than the Chinese hollies. ‘Sky Pencil’ is a dramatic columnar cultivar that grows up to 10 feet (3 m.) tall and less than two feet (0.6 m.) wide. ‘Compacta’ is a neat, globe-shaped group of Japanese hollies.

American Holly (I. opaca) – These North American natives grow into up to 60 feet (18 m.) tall, and a mature specimen is a landscape treasure. Although these types of hollies are common in woodland settings, American holly isn’t often used in residential landscapes because it grows very slowly. ‘Old Heavy Berry’ is a vigorous cultivar that bears lots of fruit.

Inkberry Holly (I. glabra) – Similar to Japanese hollies, inkberries are distinguished by their black berries. Species types tend to have bare lower branches because they drop their lower leaves, but cultivars such as ‘Nigra’ have good lower leaf retention.

Yaupon Holly (I. vomitoria) – Yaupon is a group holly plant varieties with small leaves that have a purplish tint when young. Some of the more interesting types have white berries. The leaves on ‘Bordeaux’ have a deep, burgundy tint that becomes darker in winter. ‘Pendula’ is a graceful, weeping holly often used as a specimen plant.

Deciduous Hollies

Possumhaw (I. decidua) – Taking the form of either a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree, possumhaw grows to heights of 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m.). It sets a heavy load of dark orange or red berries which remain on the branches after the leaves fall.

Winterberry Holly (I. verticillata) – Winterberry is very similar to possumhaw, but it grows only 8 feet tall. There are several cultivars to choose from, most of which set fruit earlier than the species.

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Read more about Holly Bushes

How to Identify Types of Holly Bushes

There are over 400 different varieties of holly plants. Some holly can grow into trees while others take a bush formation. Identify holly bushes by looking at various parts of the plant. Common identification markings can be found in the leaf structure, berries, blossoms, shape and size of the plant. Certain holly bushes also bloom during specific seasons.

Identify the type of holly bush by the leaves. English holly has dark green, glossy leaves with spiked tips. Blue holly leaves are a blueish-green with purple stems. Japanese holly has leaves similar to evergreen trees. Find dark green, leathery leaves longer than 3 inches on the American holly bush these leaves also have small spines along the fringes. Look for dark green 4-inch-long leaves on the Chinese holly. The Emily Bruner variety has leaves reaching over 4 inches in length with 10 or 13 spines on each side of the leaf.

  • There are over 400 different varieties of holly plants.
  • The Emily Bruner variety has leaves reaching over 4 inches in length with 10 or 13 spines on each side of the leaf.

Look at the berries. Bright red berries are found on English holly and Blue holly. Look for Chinese holly berries to have a range of color from red to dark orange to yellow. Japanese and Inkberry holly bushes have black berries.

Notice the size of the holly. American holly can grow to 60 feet tall with a diameter of 35 feet. Chinese holly can reach heights of 15 feet with a 7-foot span. The Emily Bruner variety also reaches heights of 15 feet with an 8-foot span.

  • Bright red berries are found on English holly and Blue holly.
  • Chinese holly can reach heights of 15 feet with a 7-foot span.

Find out the type of holly bush by its shape. The American holly has an upright cone shape providing a pyramidal shade. Chinese holly, an evergreen bush with a medium to course texture, stands upright as a dense, rounded plant with multiple stems. Look for the evergreen Emily Bruner holly to have a pyramidal shape and dense, horizontal branches.

Look at the flowers. Identify the American and Chinese holly by small white flowers less than an inch wide. Emily Bruner holly has large, bright red clusters of flowers.

  • Find out the type of holly bush by its shape.
  • Look for the evergreen Emily Bruner holly to have a pyramidal shape and dense, horizontal branches.

Make note of the season. The Chinese holly sprouts flowers in autumn. Look for red berries during the fall through late winter on the American holly.

Male & Female Hollies

Hollies (Ilex spp.) are dioecious, meaning they produce male and female flowers on different plants. The most common reason for lack of berries on female shrubs is that the tree is either a male or that a male tree is not available nearby to pollinate a female one.

Most holly species are dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are on different plants, thus requiring a male holly plant to pollinator for the female to set fruit. Pollen for a female species doesn't necessarily have to be from male of the same species. What's important is the female flowering time needs to coincide with a male holly flowering time. There are a couple of hollies that set fruit in the absence of a male, and these berries will have sterile seeds.

Typically, one male plant can pollinate anywhere from 4 to 6 female plants, or even more depending on the variety.

Different Varieties of Holly Bushes and Trees

There are quite a few different holly varieties that you will find in most households, especially during the colorful Christmas season. These are some of the most common and popular varieties of the holly tree, each with their unique characteristics, features and uses.

American Holly

Also called by their scientific name “ilex opaca,American Holly is native to south central and eastern United States and further west to southeastern Missouri and eastern Texas. It is often used in place of English holly, especially in Christmas decorations.

This variety of holly is an evergreen growing tree that attains an average height of 33-36 feet. Its trunk diameter typically reaches 20 inches and in rare cases, it can even go up to 47 inches. It produces stiff yellow green leaves that are shiny o the top and a dull matte towards the bottom. The flowers of this tree are small and they sport a greenish white color.

American holly is largely cultivated to be used as a broadleaf ornamental plant by most plant nurseries. It is popularly used during the Christmas season because it is believed to be truly connected to the merriment and celebrations associated with Christmas.

Dahoon Holly

These evergreen hollies are native to Puerto Rico, Caribbean on the Bahamas, Cuba, southeastern coast of North America and Virginia to Southeast Texas. They are scientifically known as “ilex cassine” and are naturally found in swampy areas.

The leaves of the Dahoon holly are evergreen and sport a glossy, dark green color with a few spines towards of the apex of the leaf. They grow almost 6-15 cm long and 2-4 cm wide. They are commonly grown as ornamental plants given the bright red berries they produce that look stunning against the dark green leaves.

The red berries are often used in Christmas decorations along with the evergreen foliage that looks quite ethereal.

Hawaiian Holly

Coming from the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaiian Holly is typically found in wet forests and mixed mesic areas. These common shrubs grow to an average height of 30 to 40 feet and prefer full sun to partial shade for successful growth.

The lifespan of the Hawaiian holly extends up to more than 5 years and are considered to be one of those long-lived trees. Its trees are blunt-tipped that grow up to 2-6 inches and often sport a beautiful dark green color. The upper side of these dark green leaves is glossy while the underside gives off a paler green shade that is not so glossy.

The flowers produced by this plant are often greenish white in color and they are usually formed in clusters of white with prominent green centers.

English Holly

This evergreen holly bush is the most popular of all that is used in Christmas decorations, which is one of the reasons why it is also called the ‘Christmas holly.’ This is primarily due to the unique shape of the leaves that is often associated with this festive season.

English Holly is a tall, evergreen tree with stunning foliage that is glossy and leathery. The flowers of this tree are heavily fragrant that bloom in the spring season and adopt a variety of shades like yellow, red and orange.

The tree itself reaches an average height of 15-50 feet while the dark green leaves attain a length of 1-3 inches. They are commonly native to the British Isles, and southern and central Europe. English holly is often crossed with Tsuru holly in order to produce the blue hollies or Meserve hollies (Ilex x meserveae).

Finetooth Holly

This holly variety is also called deciduous holly and is greatly known for its ability to handle the cold weather better than its other species. Finetooth holly is commonly found in China and Japan and grows to an average height of 6 feet to 15 feet tall.

This variety is often confused with the winterberry, but there are two main distinguishing traits between them. Firstly, the berries produced by Finetooth holly are smaller and secondly, it is a semi-evergreen tree which means that it doesn’t shed all its leaves during the winter months.

The berries of this tree are a stunning bright and glossy red that adds great beauty to the entire winter landscape however, these species are not used as commonly as the rest for Christmas holiday decorations.

Chinese Holly

Also known by its other common name ‘horned holly’ and scientific name Ilex cornuta,Chinese holly is an evergreen shrub that is native to Korea and China. It is a round type of shrub with glossy dark green leaves that are often spiny, and bright red berries that offer a great contrast against the lush green foliage.

Chinese holly grows to an average height of 15 feet and prefers growing in part shade or full sun, along with well-drained and moisture-laden soil. The leaves of this tree are quite rectangular in shape with three lobes sticking up that have spines on them. These spines are quite similar to horns in appearance which is what gave it the name ‘horned holly’.

These trees produce small white-green colored flowers that appear on the plant sometime during late March or early April. Like many other holly varieties, Chinese holly is a broadleaf evergreen which means that it doesn’t have a specific color in the fall.

Common Winterberry

This species of holly is also called Michigan holly, Canada holly, fever bush, and black alder. Compared to other hollies, the Common Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is not an evergreen variety. As soon as the first frost of the winter season hits them, their purplish green foliage turns all black.

This holly variety is native to some parts of Canada as wells as to the eastern and central United States. It is often found growing in swamps or in the edges of the woods.

Common winterberry is described as a deciduous multi-stemmed shrub that is upright and spreading that grows to an average height of 6-10 inches but can grow even taller than that. Its bark is generally smooth with some lenticels and often sports a dark gray to brown color.

These trees are commonly used in native plantings, as shrub borders, mass planting, and for fruit displays during the fall and winter season.

Carolina Holly

Also known as sand holly, Carolina holly (Ilex ambigua)is native to south central and southeastern United States. This species of the holly family can also be found growing along the coastal plain that extends from North Carolina to Texas.

This is a deciduous species that grows really well sandy soils, which is primarily why it is often called by its other common name ‘sand holly’.

Carolina holly grows to an average height of 15 to 20 feet and prefers growing under full sun to partially shaded conditions. The branches of this tree are usually covered shiny black or dark brown bark that eventually flakes off as the tree begins to age.

The habitat of this holly species ranges from sand scrubs and hammocks to woodlands to hardwood forests. You can also expect to find them growing with pines like shortleaf pine, loblolly, slash and several kinds of oak species.

Inkberry Holly

This holly variety is also called evergreen winterberry, gallberry and Appalachian tea. Inkberry Holly (ilex glabra) is native to the coastal plain of eastern North America and is also found in the west of Louisiana. It is typically found in peripheries of bogs and swamps, and can also be found in sandy wood areas.

This variety is a slow-growing broadleaf and evergreen shrub that is quite easy to grow and offers a striking color in the winter season. It grows in an upward clumping manner and typically reaches a height of 5-8 feet. The leaves sport a dark green color and their shape ranges from oval to elliptical.

In their native growing locations, inkberry holly prefers woodland soils that are sandy and acidic. Their unique name is a reference to the fruits produced by this plant and its other name ‘gallberry’ has been derived from the fact that once upon a time, black ink was made with the help of galls of oaks.

Japanese Holly

This species is also called ‘sky pencil’ which is one of its cultivars. This cultivar is quite dramatic that grows less than 2 feet wide and in terms of height, it manages to grow as tall as 10 feet. This tree is often even referred to as ‘box-leaved holly’ due to the fact that its leaves are quite similar in appearance to those of boxwood shrubs.

Japanese holly trees have quite a soft texture as compared to the Chinese varieties. The fruit produced by these trees are black in color and not as attractive as those produced by the other species in the same genus. These trees don’t thrive or do really well in regions with hot weather however, they do manage to tolerate colder temperatures.

Another cultivar of the Japanese holly is called Compacta which is quite a neat, globe-shaped group of trees.

Blue Princess Holly

This is a female cultivar that belongs to the blue holly group and is marked by its dark green leaves that are super glossy, moderately spiny and give off a kind of a bluish cast. The flowers bloom in spring and are usually inconspicuous, and they come with bright red berries.

The Blue Princess holly prefers growing in moist, well-drained soils as well as full sun to partial shade conditions. They grow to an average height of 15 feet a 10-foot spread. They are the standard type of evergreen hollies that are found in most garden centers and nurseries.

The most striking feature of these trees is their brightly colored fruit that grows on purple stems and provides a breathtaking contrast against the dense, blue-green foliage throughout the entire winter season.

Yaupon Holly

This type of holly is best known as a drought-tolerant tree and is native to the southeastern United States. It is also known as evergreen holly, Indian black drink, Christmas berry and Cassina. The name ‘Indian black drink’ in particular has resulted from the fact that the berries of this holly species were once used by Native Americans in one of their special ceremonial drinks.

Yaupon holly (Ilex Vomitoria) is a small evergreen shrub that is characterized by its red berries and green leaves that create a wonderful landscape. It prefers full sun and well-drained, humus-rich and moderately fertile soils in order to grow to perfection.

The leaves of this tree are quite glossy and oval in shape with fine-toothed margins. The tree is typically used to create informal hedges and can also be used for screening purposes in swampy areas.

Are you ready to decorate your house with beautiful holly trees the next Christmas season?

Hollies noted for berries

For most hollies, only the female plant provides berries, with flowers in late spring to early summer, and red berries from autumn to March, which birds, including robins, cedar waxwings, cardinals, northern mockingbirds and goldfinches, love to eat. To optimize berry production, plant a female and a male holly of the same species that flower at the same time within 40 feet of each other. Holly grows best in sun. It will grow in shade, but will provide more berries in full sun. Most holly berries are red, but you also can find varieties with yellow, orange or black berries.

An excellent holly to plant is Ilex opaca ‘Satyr Hill,’ winner of Holly Society of America’s 2003 Holly of the Year, with large, dark olive-green leaves and bright red berries that last all winter to provide help for songbirds. Old Heavy Berry is noted for its berry production. For a holly that grows in conical form to 10 feet tall and is densely berried, plant Red Beauty, which was developed to thrive in East Coast garden conditions, and has grown even in Zone 3. For heavy fruit production, plant a compatible male holly from the meserveae group. Blue Prince is an excellent pollinator. All grow in Zones 5 to 9.

In winter you can create elegant bouquets with holly branches in large vases, or for a holiday display, arrange the branches on a mantel. First lay plastic on the mantel to protect it, then place holly clippings on it, with your favorite candles, angel or Santa figures holding the clippings in place. Red, gold or silver bows, jingle bells, candy canes and pine cones all add a festive touch.

For the holiday season, it’s also fun to make a mistletoe holder by poking holly tips in a potato. First wrap the potato with wire and create a wire loop at the top so you can hang it. Then completely cover the potato with holly tips and add a sprig of mistletoe at the bottom. It’s the perfect way to deck your halls with boughs of holly.


Holly Society of America
A site with information about selecting and growing holly and suggested places to purchase holly. They select a Holly of the Year and, for 2011, the winner is Ilex x ‘Nellie R. Stevens,’ hardy to Zone 6b, orange-red fruit, and grows to height of 20 to 30 feet.

Hollies: The Genus Ilex
by Fred C. Galle
Timber Press in association with the Holly Society of America, 1997. Its 573 pages describe many of the species of holly, with information on harvesting and handling cut holly branches.

Sources for holly plants

The Nursery at TyTy
They have 17 hollies for sale including Weeping Yaupon and shrub Yaupon.

White Flower Farm
Sells several holly varieties.

Nature Hills Nursery
Sells more than a dozen hollies including Castle Spire and Sky Pencil.

  • 1 Description
  • 2 Etymology
  • 3 History
  • 4 Range
  • 5 Ecology
  • 6 Toxicity
  • 7 Uses
    • 7.1 Culinary use
    • 7.2 Ornamental use
    • 7.3 Culture
  • 8 Selected species
  • 9 Gallery
  • 10 References
  • 11 External links

The genus Ilex includes about 480 species, [2] divided into three subgenera:

  • Ilex subg. Byronia, with the type species Ilex polypyrena
  • Ilex subg. Prinos, with 12 species
  • Ilex subg. Ilex, with the rest of the species

The genus is widespread throughout the temperate and subtropical regions of the world. It includes species of trees, shrubs, and climbers, with evergreen or deciduous foliage and inconspicuous flowers. Its range was more extended in the Tertiary period and many species are adapted to laurel forest habitats. It occurs from sea level to more than 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) with high mountain species. It is a genus of small, evergreen trees with smooth, glabrous, or pubescent branchlets. The plants are generally slow-growing with some species growing to 25 m (82 ft) tall. The type species is the European holly Ilex aquifolium described by Linnaeus. [3]

Plants in this genus have simple, alternate glossy leaves, frequently with a spiny leaf margin. The inconspicuous flower is greenish white, with four petals. They are generally dioecious, with male and female flowers on different plants.

The small fruits of Ilex, although often referred to as berries, are technically drupes. [4] They range in color from red to brown to black, and rarely green or yellow. The "bones" contain up to ten seeds each. Some species produce fruits parthenogenetically, such as the cultivar 'Nellie R. Stevens'. The fruits ripen in winter and thus provide winter colour contrast between the bright red of the fruits and the glossy green evergreen leaves. Hence the cut branches, especially of I. aquifolium, are widely used in Christmas decoration. The fruits are generally slightly toxic to humans, and can cause vomiting and diarrhea when ingested. However, they are an important food source for birds and other animals, which help disperse the seeds. Unfortunately this can have negative impacts as well. Along the west coast of North America, from California to British Columbia, English holly (Ilex aquifolium), which is grown commercially, is quickly spreading into native forest habitat, where it thrives in shade and crowds out native species. It has been placed on the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board's monitor list, and is a Class C invasive plant in Portland. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Ilex in Latin means the holm-oak or evergreen oak (Quercus ilex). Despite the Linnaean classification of Ilex as holly, as late as the 19th century in Britain, the term Ilex was still being applied to the oak as well as the holly – possibly due to the superficial similarity of the leaves. [9] [10] The name "holly" in common speech refers to Ilex aquifolium, specifically stems with berries used in Christmas decoration. By extension, "holly" is also applied to the whole genus. The origin of the word "holly" is considered a reduced form of Old English hole(ġ)n, [11] Middle English Holin, later Hollen. [12] [13] The French word for holly, houx, derives from the Old Low Franconian * hulis (Middle Dutch huls). [14] Both are related to Old High German hulis, huls, [15] as are Low German/Low Franconian terms like Hülse or hulst. These Germanic words appear to be related to words for holly in Celtic languages, such as Welsh celyn, Breton kelen(n) and Irish cuileann. [16]

Several Romance languages use the Latin word acrifolium, literally "sharp leaf" (turned into aquifolium in modern time), so Italian agrifoglio, Occitan grefuèlh, etc. [17]

The phylogeography of this group provides examples of various speciation mechanisms at work. In this scenario ancestors of this group became isolated from the remaining Ilex when the Earth mass broke away into Gondwana and Laurasia about 82 million years ago, resulting in a physical separation of the groups and beginning a process of change to adapt to new conditions. This mechanism is called allopatric speciation. Over time, survivor species of the holly genus adapted to different ecological niches. This led to reproductive isolation, an example of ecological speciation. In the Pliocene, around five million years ago, mountain formation diversified the landscape and provided new opportunities for speciation within the genus.

The fossil record indicates that the Ilex lineage was already widespread prior to the end of the Cretaceous period. Based on the molecular clock, the common ancestor of most of the extant species probably appeared during the Eocene, about 50 million years ago, suggesting that older representatives of the genus belong to now extinct branches. [18] The laurel forest covered great areas of the Earth during the Paleogene, when the genus was more prosperous. This type of forest extended during the Neogene, more than 20 million years ago. Most of the last remaining temperate broadleaf evergreen forests are believed to have disappeared about 10,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene. Many of the then-existing species with the strictest ecological requirements became extinct because they could not cross the barriers imposed by the geography, but others found refuge as a species relict in coastal enclaves, archipelagos, and coastal mountains sufficiently far from areas of extreme cold and aridity and protected by the oceanic influence.

The genus is distributed throughout the world's different climates. Most species make their home in the tropics and subtropics, with a worldwide distribution in temperate zones. The greatest diversity of species is found in the Americas and in Southeast Asia.

Ilex mucronata, formerly the type species of Nemopanthus, is native to eastern North America. [19] Nemopanthus was treated as a separate genus with eight species. [20] of the family Aquifoliaceae, now transferred to Ilex on molecular data [21] it is closely related to Ilex amelanchier. [22]

In Europe the genus is represented by a single species, the classically named holly Ilex aquifolium, and in continental Africa by this species and Ilex mitis. Ilex canariensis, from Macaronesia, and Ilex aquifolium arose from a common ancestor in the laurel forests of the Mediterranean. Australia, isolated at an early period, has Ilex arnhemensis. Of 204 species growing in China, 149 species are endemic. A species which stands out for its economic importance in Spanish-speaking countries and in Brazil is Ilex paraguariensis or Yerba mate. Having evolved numerous species that are endemic to islands and small mountain ranges, and being highly useful plants, many hollies are now becoming rare.

Often the tropical species are especially threatened by habitat destruction and overexploitation. At least two species of Ilex have become extinct recently, and many others are barely surviving. [23]

They are extremely important food for numerous species of birds, and also are eaten by other wild animals. In the autumn and early winter the fruits are hard and apparently unpalatable. After being frozen or frosted several times, the fruits soften, and become milder in taste. During winter storms, birds often take refuge in hollies, which provide shelter, protection from predators (by the spiny leaves), and food. The flowers are sometimes eaten by the larva of the double-striped pug moth (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata). Other Lepidoptera whose larvae feed on holly include Bucculatrix ilecella, which feeds exclusively on hollies, and the engrailed (Ectropis crepuscularia).

Holly berries can cause vomiting and diarrhea. They are especially dangerous in cases involving accidental consumption by children attracted to the bright red berries. [26] Ingestion of over 20 berries may be fatal to children. [25] [26]

Holly leaves, if eaten, might cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach and intestinal problems. [26]

Holly plants might be toxic to pets and livestock. [27]

Culinary use Edit

Leaves of some holly species are used by some cultures to make daily tea. These species are Yerba mate (I. paraguariensis), Ilex guayusa, Kuding (Ilex kaushue), Yaupon (I. vomitoria) and others. Leaves of other species, such as gallberry (I. glabra) are bitter and emetic. [28] In general little is known about inter-species variation in constituents or toxicity of hollies.

Ornamental use Edit

Many of the holly species are widely used as ornamental plants in temperate/European gardens and parks, notably:

  • I. aquifolium (common European holly)
  • I. crenata (box-leaved holly)
  • I. verticillata (winterberry) [29]

Moreover, many hundreds of hybrids and cultivars have been developed for garden use, among them the very popular "Highclere holly", Ilex × altaclerensis (I. aquifolium × I. perado) and the "blue holly", Ilex × meserveae (I. aquifolium × I. rugosa). [30] The cultivars I. × meserveae Blue Prince = ‘Conablu’ and Blue Princess = 'Conapri' [31] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. [32] [33] Hollies are often used for hedges the spiny leaves make them difficult to penetrate, and they take well to pruning and shaping. [34]

Culture Edit

Holly – more specifically the European holly, Ilex aquifolium – is commonly referenced at Christmas time, and is often referred to by the name Christ's thorn. [35] [36] In many Western Christian cultures, holly is a traditional Christmas decoration, [37] used especially in wreaths and illustrations, for instance on Christmas cards. Since medieval times the plant has carried a Christian symbolism, [38] as expressed in the traditional Christmas carol "The Holly and the Ivy", in which the holly represents Jesus and the ivy represents the Virgin Mary. [36] Angie Mostellar discusses the Christian use of holly at Christmas, stating that: [36]

Christians have identified a wealth of symbolism in its form. The sharpness of the leaves help to recall the crown of thorns worn by Jesus the red berries serve as a reminder of the drops of blood that were shed for salvation and the shape of the leaves, which resemble flames, can serve to reveal God's burning love for His people. Combined with the fact that holly maintains its bright colors during the Christmas season, it naturally came to be associated with the Christian holiday. [36]

In heraldry, holly is used to symbolize truth. The Norwegian municipality of Stord has a yellow twig of holly in its Coat-of-arms.

The Druids held that "leaves of holly offered protection against evil spirits" and thus "wore holly in their hair". [36]

In the Harry Potter novels, holly is used as the wood in Harry's wand.

In some traditions of Wicca, the Holly King is one of the faces of the Sun God. He is born at midsummer and rules from Mabon to Ostara. [ citation needed ]

Watch the video: Nellie Stevens Holly Evergreen

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