Rain and low cloud made for a handful of dull and dreary photos from today’s outing. These red holly berries provided a bit of colour. Some of the leaves haven’t any prickles. The holly grows prickles as a defensive response to browsing by animals. So those branches low down and subject to grazing tend to grow prickly but those high up in the bush are smoother. This holly was in the grounds of Lady Chapel near Osmotherley which are kept free of sheep and cattle but no doubt deer find a way in.

The berries are an important food source for birds during the winter months but are toxic to humans, causing vomiting and diarrhoea.


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