English Ivy

Scientific Name: Hedera helix
Family Name: Araliaceae

Copyright: Mara Cohen 2003

Flower: Small yellow flowers, which are seldom seen.

Leaf: 2 – 4 in. (5 – 10 cm.) long, alternate, green, waxy leaves, with prominent white veins. The leaves grow with zero, three, or five lobes, the most common being three lobes with a heart shaped base.

Copyright: Mara Cohen
Plant: Evergreen vine, which can grow to be very tall when given sufficient support.

Copyright: Mara Cohen

Identifying Characteristics: English Ivy is very similar to Boston Ivy, both having the same leaves, English Ivy has vine runners, while Boston Ivy does not.

Location: We found English Ivy growing on the Brandeis University campus next to the Shiffman building in Rabb quad.

History and Comments: English Ivy is native to Eurasia, and American colonists brought it to the United States. It is highly invasive, being a particular problem in Oregon and Washington. English Ivy forms dense mats, which choke out all native vegetation, and animals refuse to eat it. It also climbs up trees, strangling them, or weighing them down so that they fall in wind storms. Despite being recognized as a highly invasive species, English Ivy is often recommended to office buildings and home owners as an easy to grow alternative to grass.

    Unless otherwise specified, all text, photographs, and drawings are Copyright (c) by Shu-Yee Chen and Deborah Hamer 2003. No part of this page may be reproduced without prior written consent of the authors.