Sunday, May 24, 2009

Only 218 days until Christmas

They say that a heavy crop of holly berries in autumn is a sign of an imminent hard winter but what it really signifies is that the tree experienced favourable pollination conditions back in the spring. There are separate male and female holly trees so they need to be cross pollinated by insects (usually flies and perhaps small bees), so good weather for pollinator activity means a heavy berry crop come December. These are female holly flowers and their green centre (the ovary) will start to develop into the scarlet berry once an insect arrives, attracted by the nectar that's visible in this picture, and deposits a load of pollen on that sticky stigma.


  1. Thanks for the reminder Paul :)
    Good shot of the flowers; they look very juicy.

  2. Hi Keith, they're not quite what they seem because this is a yellow-berried mutant of holly that's growing in my garden. The mistle thrushs don't seem to mind whether they are yellow or red berries though - they've always stripped them all long before Christmas.