Hedera helix L. subsp. helix
Vascular – Exotic
Lianes & Related Trailing Plants - Dicotyledons
Terrestrial. Forest understorey, shrubland, rocky cliffs, open areas where there is some support for its scrambling habit.
Perennial climber with stems woody, stout, becoming erect at flowering, attaching to support with aerial rootlets. Leaves alternate, hairless, dark green or variegated ivory-white, variable shaped (usually shallowly lobed), 3-15 cm long (leaves on flowering stems usually not lobed). Flowers tiny, insignificant, yellowish-green, Mar-May. Berries 5-8 mm diam, purple to black, usually with low viability.
Not generally confused, but identifying to subspecies can be problematic, many different cultivars exist. Other Ivy species are easily separated. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is deciduous and foliage is often dark red. German ivy (Senecio mikaniodes) has thin leaves and yellow flowers in the winter. Cape ivy (Senecio angulatus) has thick fleshy leaves and yellow flowers. Fragrant ivy (Hedera colchica) is sometimes cultivated, this species is very similar to H. helix, but young shoots are always green, and the leaves are often very large and fragrant when crushed.
March, April, May
August, September, October, November, December
Perennial, long-lived and persists over time. Heteroblastic, with the lobed leaves and self-clinging stems juvenile. Adult foliage is usually produced in full sun and the leaves are more orbicular in shape and flowers and fruit are produced. Reproduces from seed. Ground trailing stems may also take root and a single node is capable of growing. Fruit is produced prolifically on mature stems. It is unclear at this stage whether subsp. canariensis produces fruit in NZ. Each fruit contains a 2-3 seeds. Fruit and seed dispersed by birds. also can spread extensively vegetatively, rooted stems can re-sprout after disturbance.
temp. Europe, Asia
Reason for introduction
Tolerant to deep shade, severe frosts and high to low moisture.
hedera: From the ancient Latin name for ivy.