From Academic Kids

This article is about the plant type. For other uses see Holly (disambiguation).

European Holly
Scientific classification

Ilex ambigua - Sand Holly
Ilex amelanchier - Swamp Holly
Ilex aquifolium - European Holly
Ilex bioritsensis
Ilex buergeri
Ilex canariensis - Small-leaved Holly
Ilex cassine - Dahoon Holly
Ilex centrochinensis
Ilex ciliospinosa
Ilex colchica
Ilex collina
Ilex corallina
Ilex coriacea
Ilex cornuta - Chinese Holly
Ilex crenata - Japanese Holly
Ilex cyrtura
Ilex decidua - Possumhaw
Ilex dehongensis
Ilex dimorphophylla
Ilex dipyrena - Himalayan Holly
Ilex fargesii
Ilex geniculata
Ilex georgei
Ilex glabra - Gallberry, Inkberry
Ilex goshiensis
Ilex integra
Ilex intricata
Ilex kingiana
Ilex kusanoi
Ilex laevigata
Ilex latifolia - Tarajo Holly
Ilex leucoclada
Ilex longipes
Ilex macrocarpa
Ilex macropoda
Ilex montana - Mountain Holly
Ilex myrtifolia - Myrtle Holly
Ilex nothofagifolia
Ilex opaca - American Holly
Ilex paraguariensis - Yerba Mate
Ilex pedunculosa
Ilex perado - Madeiran Holly
Ilex pernyi - Perny's Holly
Ilex pringlei
Ilex pubescens
Ilex purpurea
Ilex rotunda
Ilex rugosa
Ilex serrata - Japanese Winterberry
Ilex sikkimensis
Ilex spinigera
Ilex sugerokii
Ilex tolucana
Ilex verticillata - American Winterberry
Ilex vomitoria - Yaupon Holly
Ilex wilsonii
Ilex yunnanensis

Holly (Ilex) is a genus of about 400 species of flowering plants in the family Aquifoliaceae. They are shrubs and trees from 2-25 m tall, with a wide distribution in Asia, Europe, north Africa, and North and South America. The leaves are simple, and can be either deciduous or evergreen depending on the species, and may be entire, finely toothed, or with widely-spaced, spine-tipped leaves. Hollies are mostly dioecious, with male and female flowers on different plants, with some exceptions. Pollination is mainly by bees and other insects. The fruit is a small berry, usually red when mature, with one to ten seeds.

Missing image
American Winterberry foliage and berries

Holly berries are mildly toxic and will cause vomiting and/or diarrhea when ingested by people (note the scientific name of the Yaupon Holly!). 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 edible. 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.


Holly was traditionally sacred to druids. Many of the hollies are highly decorative, and are widely used as ornamental plants in gardens and parks. The wood is heavy, hard and white; one traditional use is (together with ebony) for chess pieces, with holly for the white pieces, and ebony for the black. Other uses include turnery, inlay work and as firewood. The South American I. paraguariensis is used to make yerba mate, a drink similar to tea.

Missing image
Trunk and leaves of a variegated holly bush.

External links

Template:Commonsda:Kristtorn_(Ilex) de:Stechpalmen eo:Ilekso ja:セイヨウヒイラギ nl:Hulst (plant) pl:Ostrokrzew


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