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**1. Botanical Information:**
Genus Ilex divided into three subgenera: Byronia, Prinos, Ilex
Holly species are part of the order Aquifoliales
– Chloroplast genome structure of Ilex studied
– Studies on Ilex sex chromosomes defied evolutionary models
– The Plant List by Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Missouri Botanic Garden provides information on Ilex
– Various botanical resources offer information on holly species

**2. Ecology and Conservation:**
– Tropical holly species face extinction due to habitat destruction
– Important food source for birds and wild animals
– Many hollies becoming rare due to habitat destruction
– Tropical species threatened by habitat loss and overexploitation
– Provide shelter and protection for birds during winter storms
– Larvae of certain moth species feed on holly flowers

**3. Toxicity and Commercial Uses:**
Holly contains various compounds like caffeic acid and tannins
– Berries can cause vomiting and diarrhea
– Ingestion of over 20 berries may be fatal to children
Holly leaves can cause gastrointestinal issues if eaten
– Toxic to pets and livestock if ingested
– Traditional uses in distillation practices and traditional medicine

**4. Ornamental and Cultural Significance:**
– Many holly species used in European gardens and parks
– European holly a traditional Christmas decoration
– Symbolizes truth in heraldry and protection against evil spirits
Holly wood used in Harry Potter wand
Holly associated with the Holly King in Wiccan traditions
Holly’s Christian symbolism linked to Jesus’ crown of thorns and Christmas

**5. Historical and Geographic Insights:**
– Phylogeography shows various speciation mechanisms
– Allopatric speciation due to Earth mass separation
– Laurel forest prosperity during the Paleogene
– Extinction of temperate broadleaf evergreen forests
– Species adaptation to ecological niches over time
Genus distributed worldwide in temperate zones, with greatest diversity in the Americas and Southeast Asia

Holly (Wikipedia)

Ilex (/ˈlɛks/) or holly is a genus of over 570 species of flowering plants in the family Aquifoliaceae, and the only living genus in that family. Ilex has the most species of any woody dioecious angiosperm genus. The species are evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, and climbers from tropics to temperate zones worldwide. The type species is Ilex aquifolium, the common European holly used in Christmas decorations and cards.

Temporal range: Turonian–recent
European holly (Ilex aquifolium) leaves and fruit
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Aquifoliales
Family: Aquifoliaceae
DC. ex A.Rich.
Genus: Ilex
Type species
Ilex aquifolium

About 570, see text

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