Common Ivy (Hedera helix): Classification, Origin, History, Characteristics, Reproduction, and Dispersal


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Apiales

Family: Araliaceae

Genus: Hedera

Species: H.helix

Common Name: Common Ivy, English Ivy


English ivy (Hedera helix) has grown increasingly popular as an interior and outdoor ornamental vine plant in recent years. English ivy is frequently cultivated in pots or containers, although it can also be seen in landscape planters and beds. Dark evergreen leaves and the development of both juvenile and adult foliage are two of ivy’s most distinguishing qualities. Adult ivy plants are employed in mature landscapes because they may easily be grown on trellises or fashioned into topiary figures (Chen, McConnell, and Everitt 2017). Hundreds of cultivars with different leaf forms and colorations have been created through selective breeding.

Hedera helix, sometimes known as English ivy or common ivy, is a popular indoor and outdoor ornamental plant. Allergic and irritating dermatitis, as well as occupational asthma, are all possible side effects. Acute, pruritic, vesicular dermatitis, comparable to poison ivy, is typical in those who are affected. The rash appears on exposed parts, most commonly the hands, face, arms, and neck, and can have a linear pattern. Heat and perspiration can speed up the reaction, and the presence of a puncture wound just before exposure might trigger a severe reaction. Chronic rhinitis, cough, and dyspnea are noncutaneous symptoms.

English Ivy Tree


From Northern Ireland to southern Scandinavia and south to Spain, English ivy is a native of Europe. Western Asia and Northern Africa are also home to the species. English ivy was originally introduced to North America as a landscaping plant, but it quickly spread into natural areas.


Ivy is a ubiquitous evergreen plant with angular dark-green leaves that can be found in both urban and rural areas. Ivy was known in ancient and medieval times and was first cataloged in 1727, more recent research has identified ivy’s original range as spanning Northern latitudes from the Canary Islands to Asia. Ivy has spread around the world after being introduced to the Americas, India, and East Asia. Birds transmit ivy seeds, and the plant can withstand frost, shade, drought, and pollution in its natural habitat of forests. The ivy genus Hedera, ivy’s generic name, is made up of roughly 15 species, including the dominating Common or English ivy, Hedera helix, which belongs to the Araliaceae family. The importance of ivy on walls is debatable, Theophrastus claimed ivy was injurious in 314 BC. Whereas popular belief holds that ivy on walls and structures is harmful. Climate, moisture, light, microflora, freeze-thaw cycles, and salt crystallization are some of the microenvironmental elements that affect wall surfaces.


Fields, hedgerows, forests, forest borders, and highland areas are all places where English ivy can be found. It doesn’t fare well in wet or severely wet environments, although it can grow in a wide range of soil pH. Generally, new populations emerge on land that has been damaged by humans or natural events.


Although English ivy is found throughout the United States, it has not yet spread to the northern plains states. It has spread throughout the Southeast, but it is most commonly found near abandoned homes. It is possible that once planted, it will continue to spread outward from the original planting for many years. It is still available for purchase, and it may pose a threat to landscapes.


1. Ivy can be found as a plant, a climbing vine, or even a tree.

2. It has woody stems with glossy dark green leaves that have a lighter green underside and pale veins. Adult leaves are broad, radially symmetrical, ovate, whilst young leaves are alternately arranged, palmately lobed.

3. Ivy may spread quickly, especially in damp fertile soils, and has been dubbed a forest weed, however, there is no evidence that it affects or kills the trees it grows on. While it’s most commonly employed as a decorative plant, anticellulite lotions, shampoos, and antibacterial and antifungal substances have all been reported in the literature.

4. English ivy is a woody, evergreen vine that can trail or climbed. When climbing, vines can grow to be 90 feet tall, but ground plants are only 6 to 8 inches tall. Simple, alternating leaves with stellate hairs on the petiole and lower leaf surface are found on the glabrous stems.

5. The three to five lobes on juvenile leaves are 1.5 to 4 inches long. The leaves are dark green on top and paler on the bottom, with whitish veins. Adult leaves are oblong to rhombic in shape, completely enclosed, and rounded to cuneate at the base.

6. H. helix leaf extracts have been tried to treat respiratory problems, but no significant benefit above standard care has been shown.

7. The perennial trailing or climbing vine English ivy (Hedera helix L.) is endemic to Europe. It’s been grown from the beginning of time.

8. It’s been utilized in landscapes as a ground and wall cover, as a houseplant, and as flower foliage.

9. English Ivy comes in a variety of produced varieties, but the wild species includes two leaf types: juvenile leaves that trail and mature leaves that blossom and hang from branches.

10. It’s an issue in all of the Mid-South states, and it’s still available in the nursery trade in a variety of forms. Most cultivated varieties, on the other hand, are not a concern, and the usual wild form is most common where it was formerly planted, such as old home sites.

11. Plants that are allowed to climb can blossom, but immature forms are the most prevalent.

12. Livestock can be poisoned by English ivy. Regulations In Oregon, it is classified as a “B” weed, and certain cultivars are classified as Class C noxious weeds in Washington, although it is unregulated in the Mid-South.

13. English ivy is an evergreen climbing vine that adheres to tree bark, brickwork, and other surfaces using little rootlike structures that emit a sticky material that aids the vine’s adhesion. Vine diameters of 1 foot have been reported on older vines.

14. Dark green with white veins, waxy to somewhat leathery, and placed alternately along the stem, the leaves are dark green with white veins.

15. A 3 to 5-lobed leaf (the most frequent) and an unlobed rounded leaf (typically found on mature plants in full sun that are about to flower) are the most prevalent leaf shapes.

16. Before producing blooms, vines can live for up to ten years. In the fall, terminal clusters of small, pale yellow-green blooms appear if there is enough light.

17. Flies and bees looking for late-season nectar sources are attracted to the blossoms. If not consumed before the winter, the black-purple fruits have a thin fleshy outer covering and contain one to three hard, stone-like seeds.


Flowers are exquisite and appear on adult vines from June to October. Flowers in the terminal and globose umbels are pubescent. The petals are thick, greenish-yellow, and 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, with inconspicuous sepals. The fruit is a 14-inch-wide berry-like black drupe. Fruit matures from April to May and contains 2 to 5 seeds. Fruits have the potential to be poisonous. The seeds are viable, measuring slightly under 14 inches long, and appear to be viable only when taken from the fruit.

Control methods

English ivy can be removed in a variety of ways. Pulling the vine by hand can be effective, especially if the soil is damp. Because this species can sprout from any root or stem component, all plant material should be removed from the soil.

It is not required to climb up a tree to remove vegetation if the vine has grown up it. Instead, cut the vine at a reasonable height around the tree and take it off the tree to the base. The vegetation that has remained on the tree will eventually perish. To prevent the further spread of major infestations, remove a 6-foot diameter swath around the tree.

Reproduction and Dispersal

Ivy only spreads vegetatively during the juvenile stage. Any stem fragments that come into contact with the soil can regrow. Mature plants continue to spread vegetatively at a reduced pace, but they also produce blooms and seeds. In the fall, tiny clusters of greenish-white blooms bloom.


Hedera helix extract contains two allergens, falcarinol, and didehydrofalcarinol, as well as 13 distinct phenolic chemicals. 1,16 These polyacetylenic chemicals are effective irritants and sensitizers, with falcarinol being the more potent. The concentrations of the two allergens, as well as their ratios to one another, vary significantly throughout the year, with the lowest concentration of extract required to cause skin irritation in August. The allergens are alkylating chemicals that easily react with amino or protein groups, allowing them to covalently bind to surface markers on immunocompetent cells like macrophages and Langerhans cells in the skin. Patch testing can be done by directly placing a fresh leaf and/or stem on the skin, but direct testing with leaves can result in invasive fungal infection. Because these allergens are powerful irritants, they are evaluated in low doses, such as 0.001 percent to 0.003 percent falcarinol or 0.3 percent to 1 percent didehydrofalcarinol in petrolatum or ethanol. 1,5,6 Falcarinol isn’t only found in the H helix.


Question: What is the Botanical Name of English Ivy?

ANS: Hedera helix

Question: Can we grow the Hedera helix as Indoor Plant?

ANS: Hedera helix, sometimes known as English ivy or common ivy, is a popular indoor and outdoor ornamental plant.

Question: Which Family does Common Ivy belong to?

ANS: Araliaceae

Question: What is English IVY?

ANS: This woody, evergreen perennial can be grown as a climbing or creeping vine or a shrub. English ivy may photosynthesize all year and can grow for nine to ten months of the year. Older vines can reach 90 feet in length and have one-foot-wide stems. English ivy is a long-lived plant, with one plant estimated to be over 400 years old. Adventitious roots grow at the leaf nodes of juvenile plants and aid ivy climbing by clinging or attaching to surfaces rather than penetrating them. Ivy can endure a wide range of light conditions, although light promotes development. The entire plant carries a little number of toxins. If eaten in excessive quantities, berries and leaves are hazardous to humans and livestock. Dermatitis and blistering are possible side effects of the sap. Hedera is a plant native to Europe and Asia that has spread greatly over the world’s temperate zones. It’s been used as a garden plant for a long time. At least since the 1890s, people have been introduced to the Pacific Northwest. The juvenile and adult versions of English ivy have two unique shapes and growth stages.

Question: How does English ivy Spread By?

ANS: Humans are the main carriers of English ivy.

Question: Does English ivy grow as a Houseplant?

ANS: It’s been utilized in landscapes as a ground and wall cover, as a houseplant, and as flower foliage.

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