Ilex aquifolium (Holly) 

Other Names: Common Holly, European Holly, English Holly, Christmas Holly 
 
Description: This evergreen medium sized tree or shrubs is ever popular with the public, especially around Christmas. It is getting more common due to increased planting and is common in woodlands, hedges and scrub. Can be seen easily in winter and has prickly leaves for first1.5m then rounded further up. Small red berries appear in Autumn and can stay on the tree all winter. The Holly can resist both frost and drought well. 
 
Uses: Holly wood is the whites of all native woods and is hard and straight grained. This makes it useful in intricate engraving on furniture or for wood turning. The foliage is used extensively for decoration at Christmas. 
 
Conservation Value: Holly provides excellent protection and cover for nesting birds while its dried out fallen leaves are used by hedgehogs and small mammals for hibernation. The flowers are used by many insects for nectar while the leaves are eaten my several moths caterpillars. The berries are an essential food source for birds and small mammals, especially I winter when food is scarce. 
 
Preferred Locations: The Holly is tough and can tolerate a range of conditions including clay, sand, loam and chalk but prefers slightly damp areas in full or partial shade. 
 
Size: Usually 4m to 8m but trees can reach 15m with a 2.5m to 4m canopy spread. 
 
Time to reach full height: 20 to 50 years. 
 
Lifespan: Up to 300 years. 
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