Ilex is a species of 400 flowering plants out of the holy family (Aquifoliaceae). The plant is originally from the eastern part of North America and the southeast in Canada. Native Americans used the berries for medical purpose. That’s the reason the plant got the nickname fever bush. One of the other names of this plant is winterberry. The plant loses all his leaves in the winter, the only thing what remains are the typical berries. But be careful! Those berries are mildly toxic to humans.
Holly leaves symbolize love and hope, for centuries holly is a bringer of luck. The Celts and Germans worshiped the tree and used it to keep witches (and other evil) away. You should never cut a holly tree because that brings bad luck.
Colors, shapes, and availability
Besides the famous red berries, there are also other colors available. Yellow, orange and salmon pink are the most common. There is also a wide range of various stem lengths. The berry branches are available from October to January. The yellow and orange species are favorite in autumn, and the red Ilex varieties have a significant peak around the Christmas season. The branches have an outstanding durability: if you store them at the right temperature up to 1-2 months. You can also dry the Ilex branches; then you can enjoy them even longer!
Due to their robust appearance, the branches are giving a typical warm winter feeling at home. Around the Christmas period, there is a lot of request for Ilex. Ilex is sturdy and provides firmness and filling. You can endlessly combine with other flowers and branches.
Some examples how you can mix Ilex into your designs:
- Ilex, Freesia, Astilbe, Leucadendron, Waxflower, and Amaranthus
- Ilex, Eryngium, Hydrangea, Lily, Chrysanthemum, and Quercus
- Ilex, Delphinium, Gloriosa, and Eucalyptus
Shop care tips
Much care is not required for Ilex: use clean water and store them cold. Cut the branch if you are going to use them in a bouquet.