All 3 inhabit wet woods and swamps in eastern Canada. Numerous cultivars exist, selected for their ORNAMENTAL qualities (eg, leaf variegation) and their compact growth. The name "holly" (from holy) suggests its long association with folklore and religion. The druid ritual of bringing sprigs of the plant indoors to provide winter refuge for woodland spirits continues today at Christmastime. The hard, white wood is used by cabinetmakers. Various parts of the holly plant were used to make a tonic in Europe and North America, and species like I. paraguariensis (yerba maté) provide a caffeine tea in Central and South America and Asia.
Author ROGER VICK
Links to Other Sites
The Plant List
Search this online database for information about one million plant species from around the world. Also, click on "major plant groups" at the bottom of the page to browse descriptions of species of interest. Fungi and algae are excluded. From the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the UK and the Missouri Botanical Garden in the US.
Flora of North America
The FNA website features information on the names, taxonomic relationships, continent-wide distributions, and morphological characteristics of all plants native and naturalized found in North America north of Mexico.