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''Ilex'' (), or holly, is a
genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, viruses. In the hierarchy of biolog ...
of over 560 species of flowering plants in the
family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politics, ...
Aquifoliaceae, and the only living genus in that family. ''Ilex'' has the most species of any woody dioecious angiosperm genus. The species are
evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Anci ...

evergreen
or
deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists grow flowers, fruits and nuts, vegetables and herbs, as we ...
trees, shrubs, and climbers from tropics to temperate zones worldwide. The
type species In zoological nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted Convention (norm), convention in zoology that rules the formal scientific name, scientific naming of organisms treated as animals. It is als ...
is ''
Ilex aquifolium ''Ilex aquifolium'', the holly, common holly, English holly, European holly, or occasionally Christmas holly, is a species of flowering plant in the family (botany), family Aquifoliaceae, native plant, native to western and southern Europe, north ...

Ilex aquifolium
'', the common European holly used in
Christmas Christmas is an annual festival commemorating Nativity of Jesus, the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people Observance of Christmas by country, around the world ...

Christmas
decorations and cards.


Description

The genus ''Ilex'' includes over m560 species, divided into three subgenera: * ''Ilex'' subg. ''Byronia'', with the type species ''
Ilex polypyrena ''Ilex'' , or holly, is a genus of about 480 species of flowering plants in the family (biology), family Aquifoliaceae, and the only living genus in that family. The species are evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, and climbers from tropics t ...
'' * ''Ilex'' subg. ''Prinos'', with 12 species * ''Ilex'' subg. ''Ilex'', with the rest of the species The genus is widespread throughout the
temperate In geography, the temperate climates of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is one ...
and
subtropical The subtropical zones or subtropics are geographical and climate zones located to the north and south of the Torrid Zone ''Torrid Zone'' is a 1940 adventure film Adventure films are a genre of film whose plots feature elements of travel. ...

subtropical
regions of the world. It includes species of trees, shrubs, and climbers, with evergreen or deciduous foliage and inconspicuous flowers. Its range was more extended in the
Tertiary Tertiary ( ) is a widely used but obsolete term for the Period (geology), geologic period from 66 million to 2.6 million years ago. The period began with the demise of the non-bird, avian dinosaurs in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extincti ...

Tertiary
period and many species are adapted to
laurel forest Laurel forest, also called laurisilva or laurissilva, is a type of Subtropics, subtropical forest found in areas with high humidity and relatively stable, mild temperatures. The forest is characterized by broadleaf tree species with evergreen, glos ...

laurel forest
habitats. It occurs from sea level to more than with high mountain species. It is a genus of small,
evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Anci ...

evergreen
trees with smooth, glabrous, or pubescent
branchlet {{Short pages monitor Image:Yunnan Holly Ilex yunnanensis Sprig 3008px.jpg, ''Ilex yunnanensis'' Image:Beautifulflowers6.jpg, Ilex × meserveae, ''Ilex'' × ''meserveae'' Image:Ilex-pernyi-leaves.JPG, ''Ilex pernyi'' from west China


References


External links

*
Aquifoliaceae
i

{{Authority control, LCCN=sh/85/061501 Ilex, Medicinal plants Winter traditions Christmas plants Dioecious plants