Ilex (Holly) is a genus of berry-bearing plant in the family Aquifoliaceae, comprises of about 600 species and is the only living genus in the family. It is an easy to grow, evergreen shrub or tree, providing height, hedging, ornamental plants or topiary in the garden. It has a slow-growing rate and respond well to pruning. There are many cultivars with different shapes and leaves colors. Female plants bear colorful winter berries.
Holly berries are toxic to human due to ilicin content. However they are an important diet to a few species of birds. During winter storms, birds like to take refuge in hollies as the plants provide food, shelter and protection from predators (by their sharp and spiny leaves). Larvae of a few species in family Lepidoptera also feed on the hollies.
Plant holly in sun or partial shade, in moisture-retentive but well-drained soil. Propagation is through semi-ripe cuttings in late summer or early autumn.