Description and Biology
- Plant: evergreen perennial climbing vine that attaches to bark of trees, brickwork and other surfaces by root-like structures that exude a glue-like substance to aid in adherence.
- Leaves: alternate, dark green, waxy, somewhat leathery; extremely variable leaf forms, from unlobed to 3-5 lobed; typically green with whitish veins.
- Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowering occurs in late summer to early fall, typically under full sun conditions; flowers are small, greenish-yellow and occur in globular starburst type inflorescences at tips of flowering stems; fruits are black with a fleshy outer layer and stone-like seeds.
- Spreads: vegetatively by vigorous growth at tip of stems; and by seed which is consumed by birds and dispersed to new areas; fruits contain glycosides that may be mildly toxic and cause some birds to regurgitate them; new plants grow easily from cuttings or stem fragments that make contact with the soil.
- Look-alikes: Irish ivy (Hedera hibernica), Persian ivy (Hedera colchica), Boston ivy (Parthenocissus japonicus) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) may sometimes be confused with English ivy because of its hairy stems but because it is deciduous, it will lack leaves in the winter. In summer, poison ivy can be distinguished easily by its compound leaves of three leaflets and its clusters of creamy white fruits.
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