Every winter in the New Forest hollies are pollarded - cut off short, so that they will shoot again - to provide fodder for the semi-wild ponies. So well trained are the horses that they gather from far and wide the moment they hear power-saws start up.
In the old days a decoction of holly leaves was used as a cure for chilblains, and birdlime was made from the bark: boiled down, it would end up as a thick, gluey paste, which could be spread on branches so that birds' feet stuck in it when they landed. Today the hard, white wood is much sought after by turners: when polished up, it takes on the texture almost of ivory. Young, straight stems make excellent walking-sticks. Like yews, hollies can live for several hundred years.Reuse content