Monthly Bulletin of the Outdoor Nature Club of Houston, Texas.
Vol.3, No. 12
Shall we have Christmas without holly? No J
Where there is space, and earth, and sun, and rain,
There will the crimson-berried holly grow
And lend its gracious charm each year again.
No torn branch, no sese and withered spray
Shall mar the friendly welcome of your door
If you will plant a tree this Christmas day —
A living, growing gift, forevermore.
One of our nationally known cartoonists has immortalized the
phrase, "Somebody is always taking the joy out of life". Few of
us wax enthusiastic about the "joy-killers", and in discussing the
problem of preserving our Christmas greens there is no need of such
a viewpoint. We are, nevertheless, confronted by a situation that
has progressed far beyond the realm of theory. We are faced by.
the fact that annually there is a destruction of plants, shrubs and
small trees so extensive and so shortsighted in character as to rob
coming generations of these joys because of our ow n prodigality.
The American holly is in the most serious danger of any of our
native woody plants. It is found mostly along the coast from
Massachusetts to Florida and west to Texas. In its northern range
it is already becoming scarce. In the winter of 1924 the small
state of Delaware shipped 13,979 cases of holly by one railroad
alone, each case containing two hundred wreaths. As large a quantity was shipped by water, and very much larger quantities were undoubtedly shipped from the eastern parts of the other coastal states,
particularly New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Texas. As the red
berries are borne on female trees, these have been largely cut in
the past, the whole tree being often sacrificed or else losing
nearly all of its branches, so that it soon dies. During the past
two winters, complaints have been very general that few of the
berries were found, the blame being laid on seaftonal conditions.
On the contrary, this destructive cutting of female trees is largely
responsible. The trees left are mainly male and non-berry bearing,
and at the present rate of cutting the days of the male trees are
The above paragraphs are quoted from an article on "Preserving
Our Christmas Greens", in Nature Magazine, by Dr, P, L. Ricker,
President of the National Wild Flower Preservation Society, and an
authority on the native plants of America, Dr. Ricker states that
the disappearance of our ornamental evergreens makes necessary the
use of hothouse plants, imitation holly, and manufactured substitutes in holiday decorations, and that the general use of these substitutes by thinking people now may save what is left.of our beautiful wild plants, for the beautification of our scenery and the
benefit of posterity*
There is probably no section of the country whore the preservation of ornamental wild growth is of more vital importance than
here in Houston. If we are to have attractive and interesting
scenery, we must save the trees and wild flowers, for we have no
hills, valleys, picturesque gorges, or waterfalls.