Species Of The Week Number 12: Holly

As we approach the festive season, here is everything you wanted to know about Holly but were afraid to ask:

Why doesn't my Holly have berries?

Because it is a male plant. Only the female holly trees have berries.

Why are some Holly leaves prickly and others smooth?
The posh word for this is heterophylla, meaning "with various or diverse leaves". Scientists have recently discovered that if an animal starts nibbling at smooth Holly leaves it stimulates the plant to grow more prickly ones to dissuade them. You can test this theory yourself by gently pruning a Holly bush whilst making noises like a deer.

What is spinescence?
It means how prickly a thing is. Holly is therefore quite spinescent. So are some people.

Can I eat Holly berries?
Silly question. No No No. They are poisonous. 20 berries could be fatal to a child. Just No.

Why is the woodland to the west of Meanwood Park called The Hollies?
Absolutely no idea. What I can tell you is that it was gifted to the city 101 years ago, and is home to National Plant Collections of Philadelphus and Deutzia. Ex-Leeds University Professor J.R.R.Tolkein allegedly took inspiration from walking in the Hollies for some of the descriptions in Lord of the Rings. In Middle-earth, he tells us, Holly was especially abundant in the land of Hollin.

Publicado el 15 de diciembre de 2022 por clunym clunym


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