Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The best known holly in North America is the American holly whose shiny dark-green leaves and shiny red berries have traditionally been used in holiday decorations. The American holly is native through much of southeastern U.S., but in Florida occurs naturally only about as far south as Charlotte Harbor in Saint Augustine. Under the best of conditions, this holly can become a 100-foot tall tree with a trunk four feet in diameter. Usually, however, it's far smaller. American holly produces a light-green hard wood that in the past has been valued for engraving and for making cabinets, piano keys, and knife handles. The wood is used little today, but holly foliage is of great commercial value for holiday decorations. As a result of its holiday popularity, American holly disappeared from most areas around big cities more than a century ago. The American holly has a secure position in American history. After the Boston Tea Party, Americans used holly leaves as a tea substitute. George Washington was particularly found of American holly and planted many of them at Mount Vernon, some of which are still alive today.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.