Aquifoliaceae, Ilex aquifolium. Common Holly – Kew Botanical Garden, England
I’ve never been a big advocate of formal clipped hedges, however, from time to time I see one that’s worthy of a photograph and mention. Here are some photos of Ilex aquifolium, Common Holly, as a hedge and topiary at Kew Botanical Gardens. Being somewhat ignorant when it comes to the world of formal hedging, I wasn’t previously aware that this species of holly could be used so effectively in such a capacity. I included a cross section of the hedge because it was interesting. Common Holly is closely related to Ilex paraguayensis, Yerba Mate, the stimulant tea from S. America.
Holly berries are considered toxic, however their toxicity is overstated. Interestingly, the plant contains the xanthine alkaloid theobromine, which can also be found in Cacao (Theobroma cacao), tea (Camellia sinensis), and Kola nut (Kola spp.).