Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Holly

BozikovinaCasual observations in London in recent weeks suggest that holly (Ilex aquifolium) is no longer an important plant for use at Christmas time. Little, if any, was on sale, although at the Columbia Road Flower Market, in Tower Hamlets, one stall displayed wreaths, presumably for hanging on front doors, made from leafy holly twigs with a few wired on artificial berries.
Comment
Surely the reason why holly has lost popularity in recent years is because the leafless stems of a red-berried shrub have becomeColumbia Rd 22 Dec 13 009s easily available. At first I thought this was a species of Cotoneaster, but it is, I believe, winterberry, Ilex verticillata, native to North America. It is much easier to use in Christmas flower arrangements and has no leaves to shed [Josie Smith, Balham, London, December 2012].

Image: holly, MayaSimFan, Wiki Commons; winterberry, Columbia Road Flower Market, Tower Hamlets, London, 22 December 2013; there appeared to be more holly on sale, both here and elsewhere in London, in 2013.

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