Monday, December 1, 2008
The Holly and The Ivy
This is English Ivy, Hedera helix, Hedera means Ivy in Latin and helix means winding. It is mature ivy so it has begun to flower and then seed. Once ivy is mature the shape of the leaves change from the familiar 3 pointed shape to this shape leaf. It takes about 40 years for ivy to mature (don't we all change shape and even blossom after 40 years?) English ivy is an aggressive invasive plant so we don't suggest planting it.
The Holly, Ilex aquifolium, and The Ivy were used by the ancients as symbols of continuity of life through the dark days of winter. The plants verdant foliage has decorated homes at mid winter solstice since pre-Christian times. Early Christians saw in the spiny leaves of the holly the crown of thorns, the red berries symbolizing the blood of Christ. Ivy was believed to lessen the influence of wine, as well as assisting in predicting the future. In folklore, both plants are powerful protectors against evil.