Is Cutting Holly Illegal In UK?

The holly is known to bring upon us the festive winter of the year and the good blessed Christmas time. It is a very important symbol when it comes to Christmas, and decorative wreaths made out of Holly stems are a must for home decor during the winter celebration.

The vibrant dark green foliage and the shiny red berries make up such a great combination of contrasting colors, rendering it just right for the season’s ornamental Christmas greens.

The Holly has several mentions in the Christian scripture and thus, is considered to be a very sacred plant. Thus, in some regions, cutting the Holly is considered to be an offense. 

Is cutting the Holly considered illegal in the UK?

Is-cutting-the-Holly-considered-illegal-in-the-UK

Due to recent negligence and over exploitation of various plants, the useful greens are losing their share of existence in the environment in which they exist alongside mankind.

The Holly is one among such plants which are being increasingly cut for marketing and selling during the winter season.

The Holly has been overly exploited since a long time now, and without any restrictions having been imposed, the plant has been facing trouble surviving and spreading its vegetation.

There aren’t any well-planned management systems guarding the ruthless hacking of the Holly. Environmentalists fear that if the situation not taken into attention and looked upon, might very soon lead to the beautiful plant to its doom.

This tree is already among the many varieties of flora that are prone to extinction. Due to the loss of its value in folklores and beliefs, the sacred Holly is losing more and more cover day by day.

The native Irish body of law also known as the Brehon law, which was under operation since ancient times and later suppressed, had laws relating to the conservation of this holy plant.

The Brehon body of laws had seven classified flora species which is considered to be noble and took care of at all times.

Along with oak, hazel, pine, ash, apple and yew, the Holly was also a part of the listing. During those times, cutting away of an entire Holly tree was considered a legal offense, and was a punitive act. The Holly held immense importance and valor in the beliefs of the people as they trusted and believed the tales of this sacred plant.

In recent times, with the vanishing belief of this tree being a favorite of the fairies and a sacred Christian sign, the danger to the slowly vanishing Holly has extremely heightened as the plants are being mercilessly hacked and uprooted for sale purposes.

The twigs, leaves and berries which are used as common embellishments in the making of Christmas wreaths are attained by intensive chopping away of a large number of Holly trees.

The total cutting down of a Holly plant has been declared illegal. It applies to Holly plants that grow in specific areas in national parks, protected plantations and even other plants that grow on their own on roadsides or public places.

Privately owned Holly farms also often do not let traders cut their Holly tress, although they are permitted to order and buy stems of the Holly for commercial uses.

How to get yourself the Holly legally?

How-to-get-yourself-the-Holly-legally

It is considered a better and legal option to let the plant be growing and only picking or pruning the plant as per needs, rather than hacking it away completely. Stems and sprigs can be selectively chopped and used for selling purposes without harming the entire plant.

With this rule into action and growing concern over the vanishing of Holly trees over a recent period, it has been observed that people have obediently obliged to cooperate with the concern of this plant.

Cultivators have begun selling only stems and twigs from Holly plants which are carefully picked without destroying the whole. This lets the plant be left at a more sustainable state from where it can further grow and continue to bloom.

This meets both the commercial requirement of the Holly as well as is a thoughtful approach towards its judicious use and conservation.

Churches often have yards with Holly plants; it is a good idea to request a needed amount of sprigs from the church.

Just like cutting any tree or green cover is harmful to the particular species, as well as the environment, it must be ensured and legalized that they are maintained well and kept protected.

The same applies to this holy Christmas green as well. Us mankind as marketers, sellers, traders and consumers, are expected to follow nature’s rules and come up with comfortable and harmless solutions to satisfy our needs without having to compromise the existence of these valuable elements of nature.                           

The symbolical importance of the Holly:

The-symbolical-importance-of-the-Holly

The Holly with its purposeful green spiny leaves and red berries which beautify our homes is said to have religious importance. The holly has very many folklores relating to it and its sacred value.

The Holly has direct connections to Christ and is said to have even originated from his feet when he was been crucified. The cross on which Jesus was crucified is said to have been made from the wood of the Holly.

The berries, according to mythological tales, were previously white in color. When Jesus was being crucified for the sins that men made, his blood fell upon the berries which is said to have had stained them red ever since.

Therefore, this plant directly signifies the sacrifice of Jesus for mankind.

Stories of the past relate to the spiny leaves of the Holly stating that the pointy and prickly leaves represent the crown of thorns that Jesus was made to wear before his great sacrifice.

It is also claimed to be a symbol of eternal life and fertility. As mentioned in the various folklores, it was believed that during winters when all other plants dried and lost color and foliage, the Holly stayed evergreen and unaffected even in the harsh climate. Therefore, it is supposed to represent eternal life.

Due to all of the mentioned beliefs in the Holy Scripture, tales, folklores and many more, the Holly is of extreme importance and is a valuable plant. It is considered lucky to bring in Holly during Christmas in homes.

It not only marks the festive mood but also brings good fortune. They are thus used to make and decorate wreaths which are bushy and beautiful Christmas essentials.

Wreaths, which are hung up on walls, are also gifted to households with new beginnings as they make a thoughtful present symbolizing youth, eternal life and fertility.

Just as two sides of a coin exist, the flip side about Holly is also an interesting superstition. It is said to bring bad luck into the family if the Holly is brought indoors before the time of Christmas.

It is also said that growing a Holly plant nearby your house would bring ill omens. It is considered to bring a negative in the beliefs of the people as they trusted and believed the tales of this sacred plant.

In recent times, with the vanishing belief of this tree being a favorite of the fairies and a sacred Christian sign, the danger to the slowly vanishing Holly has extremely heightened as the plants are being mercilessly hacked and uprooted for sale purposes.

The twigs, leaves and berries which are used as common embellishments in the making of Christmas wreaths are attained by intensive chopping away of a large number of Holly trees.

The total cutting down of a Holly plant has been declared illegal. It applies to Holly plants that grow in specific areas in national parks, protected plantations and even other plants that grow on their own on roadsides or public places.

Privately owned Holly farms also often do not let traders cut their Holly tress, although they are permitted to order and buy stems of the Holly for commercial uses.

Proper selection and care for your Holly:

Proper-selection-and-care-for-your-Holly

Picking up the perfect Holly stems for your Christmas decoration is no tough job. Everybody likes their Holly nice, fresh, green and long-lasting.

Holly stems are often sold during the Christmas season and if is important to pick the right ones to make sure that they stay fresher for a long time without any degradation in the foliage.

Achieving this is slightly difficult, as withering away of the leaves gets easier once the Holly stems are cut.

To start with your Holly selection venture, the key is to look for fresh stems with healthy foliage. Make sure the leaves are their best shade of green with the shiny finish.

Avoid stems with pale, dry leaves. Do not go for leaves which have any kind of blemishes or damage on them. Ensure that the berries are ripe; stems with ripe berries last longer and also do a better job when it comes to displaying.

Check for pest and microbe infestations on the stems and leaves as they can easily spoil the stem.

Generally, the stock of Holly that is available at markets from florists and other sources are stored in proper settings to make them last longer.

Facilitating the longevity of the Holly is generally achieved by keeping the stems in cold storage facilities. Keeping the stems in a proper temperature and away from direct heat and sunlight can make the cut Holly last up to three weeks without any decrease in their display quality.

When delivering/ordering, the Holly must be delivered within two or fewer days to let it maintain its ideal form.

Many times, hormone treatments are used on Holly stems to make them last longer without any compromises in their foliage.

The mixture of various chemicals which are used to dip the Holly stems in; let the Holly last fresher and greener for long even after being cut from the stems.

If properly taken care of, hormonally conditioned Holly can last up to a month or even two. These solutions are also commercially available for treating the Holly stems at home.

Various chemical treatments that are generally used as floral preservatives to extend the life of harvested flowers are also utilized to facilitate better maintenance of the Holly stems.

When making use of chemicals, the plant stems last longer than just treating them at home without such mixtures.

A conducted research shows that when such chemical preservatives are used on already cut stems of a Holly, it can last up to almost four weeks, without any decrease in the shine of the leaves or berries.

These solutions are used on stems of Holly that have to be shipped and delivered to customers to ensure proper retention of their display.

Tips to keep in mind:

– The cut Holly tends to dry up because of the loss of moisture. Thus, it is important to provide it with enough moisture after being detached from the stem. The stems should be kept in water, just like flower stems are placed in water to ensure a continuous supply of water to the stem.

– The stem can also be smashed a little at the tip from where it was snipped so that water gets in through the stem comparatively easily and gets transmitted throughout the stem reaching the foliage and providing moisture.

–  They stem after cutting must be immediately washed to get rid of any dust or insects.

– If stored in a cool place, it must be checked that the Holly stems do not freeze.

– The stems must be sprayed with enough water throughout the day to prevent drying up and withering of the foliage.

– The stems must be kept away from direct sunlight so that the drying of the stems takes less time than usual.

Even with the utmost care at home, the Holly lasts up to 7 – 10 days after being cut from the stem, before starting to dry up.

Thus the purchasing or keeping of the Holly stems must be properly planned to keep in mind its time of using for decorations.

Other uses:

Along with making wreaths out of the Holly, the plant is also utilized to cure various diseases. The Holly is said to be helpful as medicines to treat coughs, intermittent fevers, high blood pressure, some heart diseases, etc.

The wood from the Holly is often used to make furniture, walking sticks, for carvings and engravings, as it is strong and sturdy.

Taking into consideration, all the useful properties of the Holly be it the value of the wood from the Holly in making furniture, its medicinal attributes to treat various ailments or the use of Holly’s stems, green leaves and red berries to weave into wreaths and hang on walls during Christmas time, the plant truly is a precious one all in all.

The beliefs and superstitions related to the plant have been around since a long time in folklore and tales. The claim of bringing of good omen or bad luck in the house, the religious history of the plant and ways to care for it must be preserved and passed onto generations.

This precious Holly must be used with care and the cutting, selling and cutting of the plant must be done judiciously. It is very helpful if such endeavors come with legal norms because it makes conservation of the flora easier and more efficient, leading to the greater good of the plant kingdom and ultimately the environment.

References-

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/hacking-of-the-holly-is-bad-luck-thoughtless-and-can-be-illegal-1.1108453.
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/hacking-of-the-holly-is-bad-luck-thoughtless-and-can-be-illegal-1.1108453#:~:text=The%20threat%20to%20the%20holly,down%20trees%20by%20the%20roadside.

 

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