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Ilex aquifolium

Ilex Aquifolium, the Common Holly of Europe and western Asia, is the most useful species. It is easily recognised by means of its spiny leaves and red berries, which are so much in demand for Christmas decorations. In habit it is extremely variable, and the numerous varieties show a great difference in size, shape, and colour of leaf, and by this form and colouring they can be divided into several well marked groups.

One group called the Hedgehog Hollies is recognised by the curled and intensely spiny leaves. Hodgins' Holly, again, is known by its large oval leaves, while other groups are formed by the gold and silver variegated forms, and those with a pendulous habit.

The type, when mature, forms a tree of considerable size, and as it approaches maturity the leaves on the upper branches lose much of their spinyness. Some varieties, on the other hand, never grow more than a few feet high, have very small leaves, and are very spiny.

Other Ilex plants.