Holly - Ilex aquifolium: Holly
Having to talk about this typically wintery shrub, a myriad of beliefs related to its therapeutic properties immediately come to our mind. It is one of the green symbols of Christmas, which is associated with the holidays of the end of the year.
The scientific name is Ilex Aquifolium.
It belongs to the Aquifoliaceae family.
In France they call it houx.
In Spain it takes the name of acebo.
In Germany, Steckpalme is named.
In Anglo-Saxon countries it has a typical meaning, holly.
It is an evergreen shrub, with leathery leaves, with a thorny outline in young plants. They are shiny and waxy on the upper side, opaque and lighter green on the lower one. The flowers are of a pearly gray, perfumed; they grow in the period April-May. Its fruit is a fleshy drupe of marked red color.
It is an appetite for birds as the rowan bird. Wood is used for delicate and fine craftsmanship. Prefer exposure to the sun. The soil suitable for its cultivation needs good drainage; it must be clayey, not calcareous. It is sensitive to frost and drought.
Today, this plant is numbered among those of protected species.
It is used as an ornamental shrub in Christmas compositions.
Many fairy tales and legends have sprung up around this evergreen plant, especially in the Nordic countries. The most famous is the following.
Once upon a time there was a child who lived in a small house in the woods. Every day he went in search of wood to heat the fire in the hearth. One day he stumbled on a seedling with the leaves bristling with needles. He fell to the ground and stung himself in different parts of his hand. Blood came out copiously. He invoked the god of the forest to help him in this great fall. He repeated his prayer several times to the patron god, but in vain. Instead an elf appeared to him who immediately treated him, carefully bundled him and accompanied him to his little house.
A few days passed, the child returned to the place where he had fallen. To his surprise, he saw that red berries had grown on the thorny tree. He stopped to think. Suddenly the king of the woods stood before him and said the following words to him: "You trusted me, you called me, I didn't abandon you, I sent an elf to heal you. To reward you for this great trust me, I turned the drops of your blood into red berries, you can use this plant to heal your ailments, but for others it will be very harmful. "
Even today in that forest everyone goes to remember that event.