Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holly, a winter holiday plant without much need for correction

It is holiday season and we are surrounded by red and green plants that have come to symbolize the Christmas season.

One of the most common is the holly, Ilex aquifolium, I. opaca and related species, in the Aquifoliaceae.  With its dark green, evergreen, spine-tipped and lobed leaves paired with round red berries, it is largely unmistakable and easy to identify and remember. 
European holly, Ilex aquifolium. Plate from Atlas des plantes de France (1891).
Public domain image (Wikimedia). 
It is also really easy to draw, red circles for the berries and lobed, spiny leaves in green.  This is probably the reason this is one of the plants where you find the fewest mistakes when it is depicted as a visual image.

So, for a change, presented here is an example of persistent botanical accuracy, not inaccuracy.  A  Google Image search pulls up hundreds of true holly images, despite a large variety in artistic design and media; here are just one example of a screen shot:

Screenshot of the results of a Google search for 'holly', by