Tree of the year

Thu, 04. Feb. 2021

Opinions differ as to whether the European holly (ilex aquifolium) is a tree or a shrub. In any case, it has been chosen by the Tree of the Year Foundation as tree of the year 2021. During Advent, the decorative twigs with the red berries are very popular.

Opinions differ as to whether the European holly (ilex aquifolium) is a tree or a shrub. In any case, it has been chosen by the Tree of the Year Foundation as tree of the year 2021. During Advent, the decorative twigs with the red berries are very popular.

There are over 400 species of holly worldwide, even deciduous ones. They occur in all temperate and tropical zones, except in western North America and southern Australia. In Switzerland, the green-leaved species with the dark green leathery-glossy leaves is best known.

Of course, the slow-growing plant, which grows up to several metres high, occurs almost everywhere except in the Alpine arc and is protected. The evergreen deciduous shrub grows in the undergrowth of deciduous forests or on pastures. From May to July it develops many white, rather inconspicuous flowers that attract bees and bumblebees. In gardens, holly is a native alternative to cherry laurel, an invasive neophyte.

Poisonous berries
Female plants develop female flowers after a few years and display striking red berries in late autumn to winter. It is advantageous to have a male plant nearby. The berries are poisonous to humans but provide an important food source for birds. As the plant ages, the shape of the leaves changes. Instead of spiky-cornered, they become oval and smooth-edged.

Holly has always played a diverse role in various folk customs. The Celtic druids used them to symbolise the sun. Branches were hung in dwellings during the winter months. Even today, decorations with holly are very popular during Advent.

BASED ON AVS/KATHARINA WITTWER

Full content is available only to paid subscribers.
Category: 

Comments

Add new comment

Events

Jobs

Real Estate

Diverse

Trending

1

The Mansard: New hotel with a roof deck

A new hotel with 30 rooms, a roof deck and a Grand Café is to be built in Gstaad. Its name: The Mansard. Local guide through the project is hotelier Michel Wichman. His guiding principle: not always more of everything, but the best of what is necessary.