English holly (Ilex aquifolium) and English ivy (Hedera helix) are two common sights during the holidays, but did you know they are also invasive to British Columbia?
English ivy is a widely planted ornamental that arrived in North America during colonial times. English ivy inhibits the growth and regeneration of native wildflowers, shrubs and trees. English holly has long been a part of Holiday traditions, due to its green shiny leaves and bunches of bright red berries. It is still grown commercially and commonly used in decorations and floral arrangements as well as in landscapes. Unfortunately, garden plants have spread throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. English holly has become a serious invasive because of its adaptability, the ease with which its seeds are spread and its ability to grow vegetatively. The tall holly grows rapidly, depriving native plants of light, nutrients and water.
If you are using English holly or English ivy in decorations this holiday season, be sure to dispove of them properly! Birds eat berries from both English holly and English ivy, so bag them securely for the garbage, or burn after the holidays. Keep BC's landscapes natural and free from invasive species.
Caution: Holly berries are poisonous – keep away from small children and pets!