Ilex is a large genus of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees. They are native to temperate, subtropical and tropical regions worldwide, and are commonly known as holly. They are distinguished by their glossy, sometimes spiny leaves, and showy berries in autumn and winter - which also attract birds. Often found in woodland, they are popular as ornamentals - as specimen trees or hedges - and this genus is often strongly associated with Christmas. The berries are toxic if ingested.