Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Holly (Ilex Aquifolium), a British evergreen tree belonging to the order Ilicineee, with hard, even-grained white wood; smooth ash-grey bark; glossy, dark-green leathery leaves, with a spinous margin when near the ground, but with one spinous point higher up; flowers usually dioecious; and scarlet, or rarely yellow, berry-like but superior fruits, each with four one-seeded chambers. Many variegated varieties are in cultivation. Hollies flourish best on sandy soils, and form an undergrowth characteristic of some of our oldest forest tracts, such as the Forest of Dean, New Forest, and Epping Forest. The holly seems also to be often associated with pre-historic earthworks, and its use in winter decorations, whether of Roman or Teutonic origin, is undoubtedly very ancient. The tree is a valuable hedge plant. The wood is used in inlaying and turning, for ebony-stained tea-pot handles and walking-sticks, etc., and the leaves are employed in the Black I'orest as tea, as on a far larger scale are those of /. paroyuayensis, the mate tea (q.v.) of South America.