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Ivy

Plant

Hedera helix

Ivy is a woody, evergreen climber that grows up walls, fences and trees using tiny roots to cling to the substrate; in woods it can also carpet the ground. It has glossy, green leaves with three or five pointed lobes, which are often conspicuously veined.

It is a valuable plant for many species, especially insects filling up on nectar before hibernating. Ivy berries ripen in winter, when most other berries have already been eaten.

It grows in any soils and tolerates both deep shade and full sun. However, only shoots in the sun produce flowers. It is poisonous to humans. Many variegated ivies are available in garden centres.

Animals that benefit

  • Holly blue caterpillar feeds on the flowers buds.
  • Wasps, hornets, hoverflies, bumblebees, red admirals, small tortoiseshells and peacock butterflies, and other late-flying insects, drink the nectar.
  • Many birds, such as blackbirds and thrushes, eat the berries.   

Vital statistics

Native: Yes
Flowers: Small, greeny-yellow, in clusters, from September to November
Fruits: Black berries from December

Calendar

Not seen in JanuaryNot seen in FebruaryNot seen in MarchNot seen in AprilNot seen in MayNot seen in JuneNot seen in JulyNot seen in AugustNot seen in SeptemberNot seen in OctoberNot seen in NovemberNot seen in December

Key to calendar