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Holly Brightens the Landscape Beyond Holidays


December 31, 2020

Photo provided

A snow-covered branch of wild American holly, thriving in the understory of a patch of woods in Anne Arundel County, Md.

As I walked through a tiny wooded trail near my home, I tried to tread softly so I could spy any birds or mammals remaining for the winter. It was impossible as my feet crunched on the crisp orange, yellow and brown leaves that covered the ground.

Here and there leaves still hung, almost desperately, to a few large oaks. But, for the most part, what had been a fiery autumn landscape a couple of months ago was now a dull palette of grays and browns.

Amid this background, one tree stood out with glorious color. Overlooked most of the year, an American holly (Ilex opaca) now took center stage...

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