Beautifying Your Home for Christmas with Holly: A Word of Caution on Poisonous Berries

Holly (lat. Ilex aquifolium) is a small tree or shrub that thrives in gardens with a pyramidal crown. Despite its poisonous berries, it is a source of food for birds and is worth planting due to its slow growth rate and minimal care requirements. The bush takes around seven years to reach a height of about two meters, but can grow up to 10 meters in height with proper care. Late autumn or early spring is the ideal time for planting, and it’s important to keep in mind the plant’s folklore significance and practical uses.

Holly sprigs are commonly used in Christmas home decorations, believed to protect against evil spirits and misfortunes. In the winter months, they are placed in Christmas wreaths that adorn the front door, and on Christmas Eve they are brought into homes, where they must remain until Candlemas at the beginning of February. The plant grows in forests in northern Croatia, particularly in Medvednica and Ivančica, with the largest population found in the Samobor Mountains. It is a protected plant and must not be picked. With its practical uses and folklore significance, holly is an interesting addition to any garden.

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