English Ivy

Hedera helix

Common Name: English ivy
Scientific Name: Hedera helix
Family: Araliaceae
Growth Form: Herbaceous vine
Native Range: Europe, western Asia, northern Africa
Invasive Range: North America
Introduction: English ivy was introduced by settlers.  It spreads vegetatively or by seed.  It is still commonly used by homeowners and landscapers as a low maintenance form of ground cover. 
Description: ·Leaves: Alternate.  Dark green with light green veins, waxy coating, leather-like texture.  Several leaf forms.  Most common is heart shaped with 3 palmate lobes.  In sun, oval shape with no lobes. 5-7 cm (2-3 in.)

·Stem: Can reach up to 30 cm (1 ft.) diameter.  Thin, root-like filaments exude gluey substance to adhere to buildings and trees.

·Flowers: Pale green, umbrella shaped cluster; appear in spring if enough sunlight. 

·Fruit: Fleshy, black.  Seeds are small stones.
Threats: Dense leaves form a canopy that shades out native vegetation on forest floor.  When English Ivy climbs a tree, it shades out the leaves, killing the tree within a few years.  The added weight of the ivy can make the tree more susceptible to blowing over in storms.
Fun Facts: English ivy contains glycosides which may cause vomiting, diarrhea, neurologic conditions, or dermatitis.  It is a common covering of old brick buildings.
Whole Tree
Leaf Glands
English ivy on a tree
English ivy taking over a tree
English ivy on a tree