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Christmas plants

Whether you are decking the halls with boughs of holly, kissing under the mistletoe or nibbling roasted chestnuts, you will find plants closely interwoven with Christmas and midwinter traditions.


Photo of Euphorbia pulcherrima
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)

Festive plant species

Want to know more about frankincense and myrrh, two plants mentioned in the Bible and given as gifts to baby Jesus?

Are you curious about the potted poinsettias that decorate our houses during the festive season?

Do you know whether mistle thrushes have anything to do with mistletoe?


Photo of Viscum album
Mistletoe (Viscum album) (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)

You may be familiar with sweet chestnuts that are used in savoury dishes and in poultry stuffing, especially at Christmas, and eaten as a winter street food in European cities - but do you know what else they have been used for?

Ivy berries are a favoured winter food for blackbirds, and ivy flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for bees - but do you know what ivy represented in the Victorian 'language of flowers'?

Browse our festive species profiles below to find all the answers and more