What is Holly?
Everything you always wanted to know about Holly but were too fraid to ask!
Think you know it all about Holly?
Holly is a genus of approximately 600 species of flowering plants in the
family Aquifoliaceae, and the only living genus in that
Holly berries are mildly toxic and will cause vomiting and/or diarrhea when
ingested by people. However they are extremely important food for numerous
species of birds, and also are eaten by other wild animals. In the fall and
early winter the berries are hard and apparently unpalatable. After being
frozen or frosted several times, the berries 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 is
commonly referenced at Christmas time. The berries are red.
Having evolved numerous species that are endemic to islands and small
mountain ranges, and being highly useful plants, many hollies are now
becoming rare. Tropical species are especially often threatened by habitat
destruction and overexploitation, and at least two have become extinct, with
numerous others barely surviving.
The origin of the word "holly" is Old English holegn, which is
related to Old High German hulis. The French word for holly,
houx, derives from the Old High German word, as do 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 and Irish cuilleann.
The botanical name ilex was the original Latin name for the Holm
Oak (Quercus ilex), which has similar foliage to common holly, and
is occasionally confused with it.
Holly is also used as a name for girls... We think its a beautiful name.