EmilyCoyte's picture

Question about Holly

Observed: 9th September 2011 By: EmilyCoyteEmilyCoyte’s reputation in Plants
Brandon Hill plus 115

What's causing some of the leaves to not have spikes? Some mutation or is this normal?

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Holly (Ilex aquifolium) interacts


Refugee's picture

All or none

The number of spines varies from tree to tree. I lived in a home that had a very old tree and it only had about 4 or 5 spines on each leaf and was healthy. The trunk was about 10 inches wide.


Masked Marvel's picture

herbivore defence

Sometimes the spikier leaves are concentrated at the bottom to prevent them from being eaten, with the smoother ones at the top of the bush out of the reach of browsing herbivores.

This is what I've heard, and I have seen it on some trees, but definitely not on all...

Refugee's picture

I admit

The tree was surrounded by other trees and there was almost no leaves below 6 feet.
More commonly in that area the holly had 10 or 15 spines per leaf even at 10 feet above the ground. There is little wild holly where i live now but plenty else to see and enjoy.


ranon.2011's picture

The comment from Masked

The comment from Masked Marvel about mostly spiky at the bottom, is what I was always told and my sheep and cattle used to leave these well alone, although attempting to reach the ones without spikes.