Common Holly. Scientific name: Ilex aquafolium.
An herb, shrub or tree of temperate regions with over 500 species worldwide. An evergreen with fragrant, white spring blossoms. The autumn berries are usually bright red, nearly a quarter inch in diameter. Other names: European holly, English holly, common holly. So this would be, to us, the commercial holly.
Here in our semiarid Western Colorado, there is less water, fewer nutrients, and slower growth. But we have a native shrub with similarly shaped leaves and bright berries. Ours is actually a member of the small plant family, Barberry or Berberidaceae with 15 groups (genera). In our area we have one species of Berberis (in our southern counties) and two species of Mahonia. It's of special interest as it appears to be a "living fossil" from the Tertiary Period with evidence of family members found in Colorado's Florissant fossil beds as well as in the Himalayas and Central Asia.
I've heard our plant called "holly bush" because of the holly-shaped leaves. Our "holly" is labeled Mahonia fremontii and it has a cousin in the high country by the label of Mahonia repens (meaning creeping). Both have fragrant yellow, spring blossoms and bright berries.
I always find the plants of our semi-desert region fascinating, but especially when they appear to look like some other family!
migration, Fall 2013
Landed at Hart's Basin/Fruitgrowers Reservoir = 887
Reported in flight = 5,694
Escalante Wildlife area near Delta: landed = 3,676.
Our wintering flock seems to be congregating in the Escalante area.
Winter Count = December to mid-February, 2014. If you see or hear them, please call me at 835-8391. Thanks!blog comments powered by Disqus