Thats right - on this Wildlife Wednesday, were learning about that plant whose boughs we used to deck the halls: holly.
We’ve seen the cards and heard (and sung) the carols about this prickly and pretty little plant, so let’s grow on our current horticultural knowledge and learn some holly facts that are sure to at least mildly entertain the in-laws.
That’s right—on this Wildlife Wednesday, we’re learning about that plant whose boughs we used to deck the halls: holly.
In the wild, these hardy plants can be found producing those bright, red berries everywhere from blustery mountain sides to sandy beaches. Depending on the species, holly can be found anywhere in the world, with the exception of the Arctic and Antarctic regions (sorry, Santa!).
Should we really be decking halls?
Many of us enjoy a using a few decorative sprigs to spruce up our Christmas trees or as a festive centerpiece for our holiday dinners, and why shouldn’t we? Holly can be grown locally and can simply return to the soil when their life as a decoration is over.
If you toss your holly plant—and its vibrant berries—into your compost when you’re done with it, though, you may want to take note. English holly, which (as the name suggests) isn’t native to North America, is commonly sold during the holiday season to shoppers who prefer natural decorations to the plastic ones. It’s also a notorious invasive plant that has taken root along the west coast of Canada and the US.
Prevention is always the best solution. Before buying a holly plant this season, make sure that you know which species you’re buying. Ask your local nursery for more information about your potential new houseguest and be sure to do your own research.
Men’s health across the life course
Theodore D. Cosco, PhD (Cantab) CPsychol