Brief SummaryRead full entry
TaxonomyIvy belongs to the Araliaceae, or ginsengs, a mainly tropical family of trees, shrubs, woody lianes (vines) and a few herbs.The ivy genus, Hedera, has recently been expanded to contain 15 species, but not all botanists agree. The similarities between the species are reflected in the fact that all have, at some time or another, been viewed as variants of Hedera helix.
Ivy is a woody, evergreen climber. In suitable conditions it can reach 30m high with stems up to 25cm in diameter, but it can also creep along the ground.The stems are clothed in hair-like roots which are adhesive, enabling the plant to cling to hard surfaces.The leaves are:
- dark green above
- pale green beneath
- rather leathery
- Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) - a climber with lobed leaves that is a member of the grape family. It is deciduous and clings by means of tendrils with small suckers.
- Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) - this grows as a climbing vine or a small shrub with leaves divided into three leaflets. The sap contains a compound which causes an irritant rash when any part of the plant is touched.