Holly Plant Identification


Holly plants are shrubs or trees that are part of the Aquifoliaceae family. There are about 600 different species of Holly plants. The flowering plants come in a wide array of sizes, and can be dwarves that are merely six inches in height, or vast trees that are 70 feet tall. The plants also can be several different shapes, such as columnar and pyramidal.


The leaves of holly plants are alternate, and have leathery and thick textures. There are a dark, deep grown color on the top, and their undersides are a yellowish, pale green. The leaves stay on holly plants for approximately three years.


Holly plant flowers appear either in May or June. The flowers grow in clusters and have a diameter of approximately eight millimeters. They consist of four petals that are all white except for a possible tiny hint of pink. The flowers have subtle sepals and four anthers. The trees are notable for being able to produce both bisexual and unisex flowers.


Holly plants bear a fruit that has a glossy, vibrant red appearance. The diameter of the fruit is about one centimeter. The fruit is comprised of four elongated kernels. The kernels are all grooved.


Holly plants offer traditional medicinal uses. The plants can be used to treat common colds and influenza. If the leaves are soaked during the night, and then boiled for a brief period of time, they can help to soothe coughing and decrease fever.


Holly plants should be cultivated in the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) plant hardiness zones of between five and six. Full or partial sun is preferable with holly plants. The soil should be well-drained, acidic, moist, fertile and loose. It is beneficial to plant them before the soil freezes, during the spring and all the way up to the autumn.

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Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.