Climate research on one’s own doorstep – searching for the common holly

The common holly (“Tree of the Year 2021”), which is located mostly in Mediterranean and Atlantic regions, can be found in Bavaria on a small strip of land on the edge of the Alps. In the Alpine foothills, she reaches up to Lake Starnberg in the north; in the mountains, she grows from Lake Constance to the Berchtesgaden Alps in altitudes as high as 1.000 meter above sea level. That makes her interesting for BAYSICS: Is it possible, that the common holly “profits” from climate change by growing at higher altitudes nowadays? The forest botanist Prof. Jörg Ewald and his team at the University of Weihenstephan-Triesdorf are investigating the current spread of the common holly, in order to compare it to historical data from 1854. To do so, researchers require assistance from as many people and hikers as possible, who report the common holly when spotted in the wilderness of the Alpine foothills and the Bavarian Alps through the BAYSICS data portal ( or with the associated app – as far as the current pandemic allows. Because of her evergreen and prickly leaves, the common holly (Ilex aquifolium) can easily be spotted even in a winterly forest. 

Press release by the University of Weihenstephan-Triesdorf