Ashleigh Smith + photo

Ashleigh Smith

Dec 20
2 min read
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Holly leaves and berries on a white background

With the Christmas weekend quickly approaching we wanted to focus this week's posts on plants for the Holidays. Many plants have come to have a strong association with the Christmas season for their colors, legends, and seasonality. As you hear the background as to why these plants are so popular at this time of year, consider your own memories and the influence these plants, or any others, have played in your life. Nature plays a great role in our lives. You may be surprised at the memories that come flooding back because of these seemingly unimportant plants.

Today's plant is Holly. The influence of Holly at this time of year starts with winter celebrations of the Romans. At these celebrations, holly would be used to decorate homes and garlands in celebration of agriculture, creation, and time with the days being at their shortest times. The Celtics would include them in their wreaths for rites and festivals. More recently Christians have associated the plant with the death of Christ. As holly naturally possesses the characteristics of red and green coloration with sharp edges, this plant can be used for many symbolic representations of the season.

In its origin of use, holy was a tool to fend off evil spirits because of its sharp edges. In its root meaning holly is named for its “prickly” points which can be razor sharp. It is also tied to male protection with its counter being Ivy for females. With its evergreen qualities holly is guaranteed to look great all season no matter its significance to your celebratory traditions. Bring more than good luck and cheer this season by incorporating the holly berries and leaves into your decorations creating the ambiance of the perfect holiday environment.

Fun Facts About Holly:

  • Holly is dioecious which means both a male and female plant have to be near for pollination to take place. Without pollination you won’t see the traditional berry development.
  • The “berry” is actually a drupe. Drupes are a fruit with a flesh that surrounds a pit.
  • Holly fruit is actually toxic to people causing nausea and diarrhea.

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