Using Holly in the Lab


The prickly leaves of holly are an impressive defence against herbivores – and a useful resource for investigations in the science lab.


Teaching Topics

  • Spines
  • Leaves
  • Plant defences
  • Herbivory
  • Adaptation
  • Stomata
  • Leaf structure


Holly, Ilex aquifolium

Holly trees are distributed throughout North-West Europe, although dense populations of these trees mainly occur in Britain. The leaves are dark green and leathery, often with spines. The berries are usually red, although sometimes can be found in a yellow form.

Growing and sourcing

Obtaining: Holly is often found growing in school grounds, local parks and woodland.

Healthy and Safety Note: Care should be taken when investigating these leaves as some have a substantial number of sharp spines

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