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Hedera helix L.

English ivy

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderApialesIncludes carrots, celery, parsley, and ivy
FamilyAraliaceaeIvy family
GenusHederaThe classical name for ivy, this was supposedly the sacred plant of Bacchus, God of wine
SpecieshelixWinding around

About plant names...

English ivy is native to most of Europe. Introduced to North America and Australia, it is now considered an invasive in some areas.

Identification: English ivy is a climbing vine that reaches 66-98' (20-30 m) in height, clinging to rocks, trees and buildings with sticky aerial rootlets, and spreading to cover the substrate almost completely. Vines in well-established plants can reach up to 12" (30 cm) in diameter. Younger leaves have five (rarely three) pointed lobes; in older leaves, the lobes become less divided. Leaves are dark green and waxy or shiny, with prominent, light-colored veins, 1½-4" (3.8-10 cm) long. It takes many years for a vine to begin flowering, and the flowers are inconspicuous, small and greenish. Berries are purple or black, about ¼" (6.3 mm) in diameter, and also rare.

English ivy is considered an invasive in some areas because it climbs over and kills many other plants, establishing a less healthy monoculture in place of a more diverse plant community.

Online References:

Hedera helix on www.carolinanature.com

Hedera helix on Forest and Kim Starr’s Starr Environmental site

Hedera helix on Wikipedia

Hedera helix at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Hedera helix on the Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted List

Hedera helix on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Hedera helix on floridata.com

Hedera helix on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Hedera helix (English ivy)



Hedera helix description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Hedera helix (English ivy)

9/20/2009 · Maine

Hedera helix (English ivy)


Hedera helix (English ivy)

11/17/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm) ID is uncertain

Hedera helix (English ivy)

4/6/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 21 × 14" (52 × 34 cm) ID is uncertain


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