Holly is famous for having prickly leaves. But are they all equally prickly?

Try and find a holly tree in a park or a garden and take a photograph of it. Better still, take three photographs, one of the top, one of the middle and one of the bottom. if you can use a zoom function, this may make it easier in photographing the top of the tree (my picture of the top of the tree was taken out of a window!)

If you can, print out your pictures.

Choose five holly leaves at random on each picture. This is easy if you have printed them out – just shut your eyes and bring a pencil down on the picture. If the picture is on the screen of your computer, don’t damage the computer screen by using a pencil – use your finger instead.

Count the number of prickles on each leaf.

The expected result is that there will be more prickles on the leaves lower down the tree – but this may not be true for all trees.

Can you think of an advantage for the holly tree in having more prickles on lower leaves?

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