Hedera helix

Common Names: English ivy, common ivy, European ivy
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Ivy family

It is an evergreen climbing plant, growing to 20 to 30 m high where suitable surfaces (trees, cliffs, walls) are available, and also growing as groundcover where no vertical surfaces occur. It climbs by means of aerial rootlets with matted pads which cling strongly to the substrate. The ability to climb on surfaces varies with the plants variety and other factors: Hedera helix prefers non-reflective, darker and rough surfaces with near-neutral pH. Prefers moist, shady locations and avoids exposure to direct sunlight, the latter promoting drying out in winter. The leaves are alternate, 50 to 100 mm long, with a 15 to 20 mm petiole; they are of two types, with palmately five-lobed juvenile leaves on creeping and climbing stems, and unlobed cordate adult leaves on fertile flowering stems exposed to full sun, usually high in the crowns of trees or the top of rock faces. The flowers are individually small, in 3 to 5 cm diameter umbels, greenish-yellow, and very rich in nectar, an important late autumn food source for bees and other insects. The fruit are purple-black to orange-yellow berries 6 to 8 mm in diameter, ripening in late winter

Common Ivy tends to grow slowly on buildings and gives meaning to the term 'Ivy League College', implying that they are old. Otherwise commonly found in gardens, waste spaces, and tree trunks. Flowers are produced from late summer until late autumn.

Edible Notes: No available information on edibility.
Warnings: The leaves can cause severe contact dermatitis in some people. People who have this allergy (strictly a type IV hypersensitivity) are also likely to react to carrots and other members of the Apiaceae as they contain the same allergen, falcarinol.