Tag: Ivy Plants

Ivy or Hedera is a genus of plants (12-15 species). Ivy plants are perennial climbing or ground-creeping that is native to western, central, and southern Europe. It can also be found in parts of Africa and Asia. Many species of ivy have also been introduced in the United States, Australia, and the Caribbean.
Ivy plants will creep across the landscape where there is no vertical incline. However, where there is a suitable surface for climbing (trees, cliffs, walls, houses), the plant will climb up the surface of the structure. You can identify different types of ivy plants by their leaves, texture, veins, and color (leaves, fruits, and flowers). The species differ in detail of the leaf shape and size (particularly of the juvenile leaves) and in the structure of the leaf trichomes, and also in the size and, to a lesser extent, the color of the flowers and fruit.

Ivies generally have two kinds of leaves; unlobed adult leaves that are irregularly shaped that have flowering stems exposed to full sunlight. These adult leaves are usually to the top of trees, rock surfaces, etc. They also have juvenile leaves that are lobed and can be found on the creeping or climbing stems.

The juvenile leaves areg slender, flexible and climb with small aerial roots to affix the shoot to the substrate (rock or tree bark). The adult leaves are thicker, self-supporting and without roots. The flowers are greenish-yellow with five small petals; they are produced in umbels in autumn to early winter and are very rich in nectar. The fruit is a greenish-black, dark purple or (rarely) yellow berry 5–10 mm diameter with one to five seeds, ripening in late winter to mid-spring. The seeds are dispersed by birds that eat the berries.
Ivy Species

Trichomes scale-like

Hedera algeriensis Hibberd – Algerian ivy. Algeria, Tunisia (Mediterranean coast).
Hedera canariensis Willd. – Canaries ivy. Canary Islands.
Hedera colchica (K.Koch) K.Koch – Persian ivy. Alborz, Caucasus, Turkey.
Hedera cypria McAllister – Cyprus ivy (syn. H. pastuchovii subsp. cypria (McAll.) Hand). Cyprus (Troodos Mts.)
Hedera iberica (McAllister) Ackerfield & J.Wen – Iberian ivy. SW Iberian coasts.
Hedera maderensis – Madeiran ivy. Madeira.
Hedera maroccana McAllister – Moroccan ivy. Morocco.
Hedera nepalensis K.Koch – Himalayan ivy (syn. H. sinensis (Tobl.) Hand.-Mazz.). Himalaya, SW China.
Hedera pastuchovii G.Woronow – Pastuchov’s ivy. Caucasus, Alborz.
Hedera rhombea (Miq.) Siebold ex Bean – Japanese ivy. Japan, Korea, Taiwan.

Trichomes stellate

Hedera azorica Carrière – Azores ivy. Azores.
Hedera helix L. – Common ivy (syn. H. caucasigena Pojark., H. taurica (Hibberd) Carrière). Europe, widespread.
Hedera hibernica (G.Kirchn.) Bean – Atlantic ivy (syn. H. helix subsp. hibernica (G.Kirchn.) D.C.McClint.). Atlantic western Europe.

Problems with Ivy Growth
The berries produced by ivies are poisonous and should not be consumed. Many ivy plants are also labeled as invasive in various countries such as North America and Australia. In North America, ivy plants left uncontrolled can overwhelm trees and other vegetation. This is believed to be due to a lack of natural pests to control the ivy plant’s growth as in their native range.

External resources:

Woodland Trust – Ivy
English Heritage – Ivy on Walls
Biological Flora of the British Isles no. 268 Hedera helix L.
Criteria for Categorizing Invasive Non-native Plants that Threaten Wildlands” (PDF). 
California Invasive Plant Council Interactive Database”
The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology
The Woodland Trust – Ivy (Hedera helix)
Ordnance Survey