They have alternate, simple leaves and single or clustered, small, usually greenish flowers (male and female being usually on separate plants). English holly is a tree which grows up to 15 m (nearly 50 feet) tall, bears shining, spiny, dark, evergreen leaves and usually red fruits.
Holly is associated with the cycle of death and rebirth representing winter winning over summer. With this symbolism in mind it is good for spells that involve sleep or rest. Because of its bristles and its use in making spears it is closely associated with combat and protection, warding away evil spirits and also signifying the virtues of balance and directness. It is favoured during the winter season as lucky with its beautiful leaves and berries being very colourful against the dead landscape giving hope for the following summer during the dark months.