Poisonous Holly Plants

Written by elizabeth punke
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Poisonous Holly Plants
Holly bush with vibrant, red berries. (holly image by david purday from Fotolia.com)

Holly plants are beautiful plants that keep their thick leaves throughout the wintry, snow-filled months. Their are many species of holly found in varying climates throughout the world. Some holly vines are considered toxic since their berries and leaves may cause stomach cramping and pain if eaten.

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Blue Holly

The blue holly plant is a thick shrub that can reach heights of about 15 feet. The shrub is characterised by dark-green leaves that have a distinct blue undertone, thus the name "blue holly." The blue holly is found in USDA hardiness zones 4a to 9b, covering places like Illinois, Georgia, Nebraska and Texas, for instance. The blue holly is poisonous due to the seeds of the berries. Once the tender white blooms fall, rich red berries are present through most of the fall and winter, providing a showy presentation under layers of snow. Seeds of the berries are toxic to people and animals, as you might notice wildlife refraining from eating the berries.

Foster's Holly

Foster's holly is slightly different in colour and density than most people would expect for a holly bush. The plant is shaded in golden tones with sparse leaf density for a light and airy appearance. Foster's holly is found in warmer climates throughout USDA zones 7 through 9. In the fall, dark berries cover the 10-foot-long, 30-foot-tall bush in a thick and clustering pattern. The seeds within the berries are toxic and should never be eaten. As with many holly bushes, the seeds contain natural chemicals that cause stomach cramping and sometimes dermatitis (inflamed skin or red rash.)

Burford Holly

The Burford holly has a distinct leaf that is only 2 to 3 inches long in a teardrop shape. Other holly bushes have leaves three times as long with three-pronged, pointed-tipped ends. Burford holly plants are brightly coloured in yellowish-green leaves that are densely compacted into a round bush. The Burford holly can be grown to heights of 20 feet and shaped according to desire. Like other holly bushes, the Burford has berries that are toxic if eaten. The berries will cause stomach pain and possible skin rash.

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