Holly Leaf Identification
Hollies consist of evergreen shrubs and deciduous trees with ornamental foliage that produces vibrant red colored berries. These berries appear late summer in green color and changes to bright red, which booms in the fall and through out the winter season. Its foliage and berries are sometimes use as a decorative element, and eaten by birds. Common forms include inkberry, winterberry, Japanese, Chinese and lusterleaf.
Identification of the holly plant requires examination of the leaves completely because there is variation from one area of the plant to the next. However, the plant is known for its leathery, glossy leaf texture and prickly edges. Its leaves size varies with larger leaves being twice the size of the smaller leaves. Spike edge holly foliages are the most common form of holly bushes with spines averaging eight inches. Other variations do not have the spine leaf edges that are so common. For example, Japanese as well as inkberry hollies edges are smooth. Chinese shrub on the other hand has fewer spines and has a curl leaf appearance. Lusterleaf is also another version of this shrubbery; although it has a thorn like appearance, they are smaller in comparison to other types.
Other identification characteristics of the leaves are the shape and size, which varies depending on the type of plant. Some has an oval shape although the shape is not quite noticeable due to its spine like features. Japanese bushes have small long leaves, in comparison to the inkberry, whose leaves average anywhere from one inch to three inches long. English, Meserve and Lusterleaf averages anywhere from four to eight inches long.
Shrubbery foliage tends to be dense, which helps after pruning because the pruned area will fill in rapidly. While most hollies are evergreen, some varieties are not evergreen such as the winterberry that loses its leaves during the winter season.
Texture and leaf color are another plant identification tool. Although normally glossy and olive green, this shrubbery has other leaf color variations. One such variation is the Oakleaf, which early spring has a reddish purple appearance that changes to green later. There are other leaf color variations including pale yellow stripe found in the traditional English holly. Regardless to the leaf color variation, all hollies are thick and tough.
Holly bushes are classic American plants and regardless of what form you have in your garden, they will surely provide you with years of natural beauty that you and your family can enjoy.
You can get much more information and resources about leaf identification at Leaf Identification.