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Wild Ivy  

Wild Ivy


Hedera helix

Ivy is a woody, evergreen climber that grows up walls, fences and trees using tiny roots to cling to the substrate; in woods it can also carpet the ground. Contrary to popular belief, it does not kill trees as it is not a parasite.

It has glossy, green leaves with three or five pointed lobes, which are often conspicuously veined. It is a valuable plant for many species, especially insects filling up on nectar before hibernating. Ivy berries ripen in winter, when most other berries have already been eaten. It grows in any soils and tolerates both deep shade and full sun. However, only mature growth over 10 years old produce flowers and berries. We can also sometimes supply plants rooted from cuttings of this secondary stage of growth - see 'Hedera Helix arborescens' (limited stock). The  Holly blue caterpillar feeds on the flowers buds.

* Hoverflies, bumblebees, red admirals, small tortoiseshells and peacock butterflies, and other late-flying insects, drink the nectar. Many moths that do not come to light traps can be found nectaring from Ivy flowers after dark if you go and look with a torch. See Butterfly Conservation North Wales Branch newsletter (www.northwalesbutterflies.org.uk ) for an article on this by John Harold, County Moth Recorder for Gwynedd & Caernarvonshire.

*                     Many birds, such as blackbirds and thrushes, eat the berries of Ivy in winter. 


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