Holly Flowers

The holly flower is a blossom that sprouts from a large genus – between 400 and 600 species – of flowering trees in the aquifoliaceae family. Unlike most other blooms, the holly flower has a more modest appearance. Overall, these flowers are generally small and white or pale pink, and contain four tiny petals; however, these plants are dioecious, and there are small differences that may be easily noted between male and female holly plants. The female holly sports a small green bump at its center which, when mature, will become a large, red berry. They also contain small, nonfunctional stamens that are barely noticeable at a casual glance. Male plants, on the other hand, grow in larger quantities and bear clear, large stamens.

The holly flower and its tree are best known for their association with Christmas. However, these plants have a far larger spectrum when it comes to ceremony, myth and uses. Wiccans, for instance, have long considered this tree to have protective qualities. This belief – at least partially – stems from the use of holly by the druids, who would often advise people to keep pieces of the plant in their homes. Dr. Edward Bach – a well known homeopath – believed that the essence of the holly flower was very useful to healing and calming the spirit; this belief was also steeped in the wisdom of the druids. The tradition of using holly for Christmas decorations actually began with the ancient Romans. During this period, the Romans presented their friends and family with holly during Saturnalia. At a later date, this plant became associated with Jesus Christ, and it was said that the trees began to sprout from his footprints. With this connection to Jesus, the blossoms and berries then became a customary part of Christmas celebrations. Although the fruits of the this blossom are considered highly toxic when ingested, many still feel that parts of this plant have a strong medicinal value. An infusion of the leaves is said to be great in curbing night sweats, and may also be used as a tranquilizer. In small quantities, the berries are sometimes use as an emetic to purge toxins, while the bark can be cleaned and used as a fomentation for broken bones.

As a gift, the holly flower is still very popular at Christmastime; however, these plants symbolize more then just the holiday season. Hollies are sometimes given to represent a protective feeling that the giver has for the recipient, as these flower can mean defense. They are also representative of domestic bliss, and may be given on important romantic anniversaries.

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