Piano Pomo Holly Trees – Holly forest

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Ilex aquifolium L.

In Piano Pomo, in a small basin at 4.593 ft above sea level, on the northern side of Pizzo Carbonara, there is a small wood which is one of its kind all over Europe. In fact, it is made of 317 giant specimens of Ilex aquifolium L., arranged in five groves and spread over about 2.5 acres. This is actually a small fossil forest which can now be regarded as evidence of the European spontaneous flora before the Pleistocene glaciations.

In Sicily, holly trees grow between 3.937 and 4.921 ft above sea level, often associated with beeches, downy oaks, and holm oaks; they can be found mostly on the mountain slopes facing North, and the specimens in Piano Pomo have grown between 49.2 and 62.3 -ft high, with an average circumference 16.4 ft (32.8 ft including the stumps), and beautiful foliage between 32.8 and 49.2-ft wide. Some specimens must be about 900 years old.

These trees have grown so much mainly thanks to a particular phenomenon known as “grafting by approximation”. The stems of several nearby individuals, rubbed against each other by the wind, strip the tissues of the outermost area of the trunk (right before the bark), which, in turn, begins to slowly weld when the wind stops, thus giving life to huge and peculiar plants.

Holly trees have found their ideal microclimate right here, thanks to the humidity, transpiration and type of soil.

The Forestry Company currently protects and enhances this whole area and its beautiful plants, thanks to regular with targeted interventions.

Botanical card

This tree or shrub species belongs to the Aquifoliaceae family and is native to Europe; it’s therefore spread throughout the Mediterranean Basin.
It features a smooth bark and leathery-leaved branches with thorny edges; the fruits are red berries that creates a striking contrast with the shiny foliage.

Holly trees used to be regarded as magic plants before the advent of the Christian Christmas celebrations – they were believed to ward demons off.
The Ilex aquifolium L. is hardly ever used in herbal medicine, due to its toxicity, but it has diuretic, febrifugal and laxative properties.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Petralia Sottana(PA)

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