BBY018 :: Ilex aquifolium

English holly.

I was inspired by a recent botanical illustration tutorial from the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver (ISCMV) to draw something quickly and simply. I still don’t have watercolours, but I tried to use watercolour pencils for the pigment here.

Holly is an introduced species from Europe. The spiky leaves may be mistaken for our native Oregon grape, Mahonia aquifolium, but while both are present around Burnaby Lake, the fruits will differentiate them. Bright red holly berries are synonymous with Christmas decorations, while Oregon grapes are much more like small sour blueberries.

The species name “aquifolium” refers to the sharp, hooked or pointed shape of the leaves. This feature and name is shared by the Oregon grape. The inspiration may be from an eagle’s talons or beak, and presumably related to “quills” as well.

Art by Nelson Spies, June 25, 2021. Watercolour pencils/pigment on 100 lb weight coloured pencil paper.

Specimen recorded July 24, 2020, 18:57 just south of the Pavilion parking lot.


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