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Harry Potter Wiki

Holly (genus Ilex) is a genus of four to six hundred species of flowering plants in the family Aquifoliaceae, and the only living genus in that family. The species are evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, and climbers found worldwide.[3]

The holly plant is also associated with the holiday of Christmas. In December 1992 at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Great Hall was decorated with holly and mistletoe for Christmas.[2]


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An Ollivander-made holly wand

According to Garrick Ollivander, holly was one of the rarer kinds of wand woods; traditionally considered protective, it worked most happily for those who might need help overcoming a tendency to anger and impetuosity. At the same time, holly wands often chose owners who were engaged in some dangerous and often spiritual quest.[1]

Holly was one of those woods that varied most dramatically in performance depending on the wand core, and it was a notoriously difficult wood to team with phoenix feather, as the wood's volatility conflicted strangely with the phoenix's detachment. In the unusual event of such a pairing finding its ideal match, however, nothing and nobody should stand in their way.[1]


The oak tree was called King of the Forest from the Winter Solstice up until the Summer Solstice, and its wood should only be collected during that time. Holly became King as the days began to shorten again, and so holly should only be gathered as the year wanes.[1]

The divide between holly and oak aforementioned was believed to be the origin of the old superstition, "when his wand's oak and hers is holly, then to marry would be folly", meaning that those with a wand made of holly were incompatible with those with a wand made of oak and should not marry, a superstition that Garrick Ollivander found to be baseless.[1][4]

Known holly wand owners[]

Behind the scenes[]

  • According to Pottermore, "Holly is a traditional symbol of luck, prosperity and protection from evil. It's been used in celebration rituals throughout history including the Roman festival of Saturnalia, the Pagan Winter Solstice and, of course, Christmas."
    • According to J. K. Rowling, "European tradition has it that the holly tree (the name comes from 'holy') repels evil."[8]
    • Interestingly, holly shares many characteristics with yew, the tree which supplied the wood for Tom Riddle's wand, which became the "twin" of Harry Potter's wand.
      • Both trees are toxic (albeit holly not to the same degree as yew);
      • Both trees occupy the understorey of the forest canopy;
      • Both trees have spiritual significance in several cultures, from Europe to Asia, signifying longevity and rebirth.


Notes and references[]

See also[]