Holly Flower

Holly Flower

Uncover Hidden Flowers meanings

Thinking about the holly flower, images of Christmas begin to form in your mind. 

While it’s mostly the leaves and the berries of the holly that gets people’s attention, it’s the flowers that mean protection and defense.  Apart from being defense from thunder, witchcraft and things like that, it’s also a symbol of a happy home life.

Holly was first associated with Christmas from the holy bible. When King Herod ordered that all male babies be put to death, the Holy Family hid their precious baby Jesus in a holly bust.  Considering it wasn’t the season for holly to be lush, Mary prayed for protection for her son and the leaves grew to hide baby Jesus.

It’s also about the shape of the leaves that made it a part of Christian lore. The pointed leaves of the holly represented Christ’s crown of thorns.  The green color of the leaves meant eternal life. The red berries stood for the blood of Christ.

  • Name: Holly Flower
  • Color: The holly flower is usually color white but there are times when the flower has a greenish tinge to it.
  • Shape: Fully opened, the holly flower is shaped like a cross.
  • Fact:  Of all the parts of holly, it’s the leaves and the berries that have most significance - as one of the most prominent symbols of Christmas. Not surprisingly, the Holly flower is the birth flower of December and it also known as Christmas Holly or English Holly.
  • Poisonous: The berries on the holly plant are poisonous.
  • Number of Petals:  When the holly flower opens, it distinctively has four petals
  • Victorian Interpretation:  With the Christmas connotation aside, holly flowers mean defense and protection.  It also signifies domestic happiness.
  • Blossom Time: Holly flowers bloom from the month of May to June.  They bloom in lush bunches that it’s hard to tell from a distance that they’re individual flowers.


People in the olden times planted holly around their homes so they have protection from lighting and thunder. It also protects people from the evil eye and witchcraft.

In relation to the Christmas season, people in West England believed that a young girl’s bed would have to be surrounded with sprigs of holly.  That works as protection to keep the goblins away from the little girl.

If the berries on the holly are numerous, this was also taken as a sign that the winter is going to be harsh.  The berries served as food for the birds so that they can get through the winter.

  • The Shape:  As coincidence would put it, holly flower having great importance in the Christian faith, the flowers of holly also look like a small white cross - the symbol of trinity in the Christian world.
  • Petals:  Since holly flowers have four petals that open up symmetrical to each other, a holly flower in full bloom looks like a cross.
  • Numerology:  Holly flowers are attached to the number 7 in numerology.  The symbol plant for this is Neptune.  It has the positive qualities of mediation, awareness, analysis and understanding.
  • Color:  White is the most basic color that holly flowers have.  There are times that the flowers can look greenish and also it might have pink tinges on the base and the tips.

Herbalism and Medicine:  

In the 19th century, holly flowers as well as the other parts of the plant were thought to be the cure for fever.  With its poisonous berries, it can work as an emetic.  Today, holly is used as a diaphoretic.  Infusions of holly were used to cure pleurisy.  The leaves can also be boiled to help with jaundice.

By Florance Saul
Aug 20, 2012