English Holly

You might wonder - Why is English Holly a problem?

In King County, English holly is classified as a Weed of Concern and its control is recommended in natural areas that are being restored to native vegetation and in protected forest lands.

Impacts and Distribution

English HollyEnglish holly is carried by birds into forests where it can form dense thickets that dominate the tall shrub layer and suppress germination and growth of native tree and shrub species. According to the University of Washington Herbarium records, botanists have collected specimens of English holly from. It does appear that English holly is encroaching into native forest habitat and reproducing successfully in fairly undisturbed native communities.

In the Seattle Urban Nature Project’s plant inventory of Seattle’s public forests, English holly was frequently found in the understory. In fact, English holly was the fourth most abundant non-native species found, outnumbered only by Himalayan blackberry, Scotch broom and English ivy. English holly, along with English laurel, was more common in the understory than native conifers. Given their findings, it is likely that English holly, along with other invasive non-natives, will be in a much better position to replace Seattle’s aging deciduous trees than our native evergreen trees. Seattle Urban Nature ecologist Ella Elman predicts that, if nothing is done, 30 or 40 years from now Seattle’s forests will look dramatically different than they do today.

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