Scientific Name: Hedera helix

Common Name: English ivy

Other Common Names: common ivy, ivy

Habit: Evergreen Perennial Woody Vine

Leaves: Leaves are shiny, waxy, and dark green with lighter veins and a lighter green on the undersides of the leaf. Mature leaves can be lobed or unlobed, while juveniles are typically unlobed. Pattern of leaf growth is alternate with a simple leaf structure. Leaves are around 5-10 cm or 2-4 inches long with small white hairs.

Identifying Characteristics: English Ivy is known for its aggressive growth. It has been recommended for ornamental and ground cover purposes due to its growth habits, cold hardiness, and low maintenance. Due to its aggressive growth, it is considered a menace to most. It can be seen scaling buildings and can even choke out trees. Leaves protrude from the vine, which will spread laterally and climb up trees, walls, and structures with rootlets penetrating the host. The younger stems and petioles are light-dark greek, while older stems are woody. The roots are adventitious and shallow rooted. It can sometimes be mistaken for Irish Ivy, which has wider leaves and darker veins. In terms of management, mechanical and chemical control are the primary options available.

Flower Seed Head: The flowers of English Ivy are white/green, small (~3-5mm), and perfect (male and female), forming in round clusters. Flowers are typically seen in the fall.

Seed Fruit: The fruit on English Ivy are dark blue/black and ripen over the winter into spring. Fruit may be toxic to livestock and humans. Each fruit is 5-10mm and contains 1-3 seeds (~70% viable).

Where Found: English Ivy can be found in the majority of the United States and other areas of the world. It grows in moist environments and can be seen on buildings, trees, and other structures.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Vine

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Araliaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: oval; round

  • Ochrea: Not Present; Present

  • Leaf margin: lobed; entire

  • Stem hairs: no hairs; has hairs

  • Flower color: green; yellow; white

  • Growth habit: vine

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: pinnate; simple

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs; has hairs

  • Flower diameter: pencil; dime

  • Flower symmetry: bilateral symetry

  • Root structure: fibrous

  • Leaf stalk: longer than leaf; shorter than leaf