Ivy - Hedera helix

Scientific Name: Hedera helix subsp helix (Araliaceae).

English Name: Common Ivy; English Ivy; Bind Wood (Ivy family).

French Name: Le Lierre; le Lierre grimpant (='climbing ivy').

5 Key Characters:
  • evergreen climber which will go up trees or structures to 30 m.
  • forms carpets on woodland floor.
  • juvenile leaves on non-flowering stems are divided into 5 lobes.
  • mature leaves are pointed ovals.
  • has abundant greenish flowers, followed by black berries, on stems which have sufficient light.
Lookalikes: Non-native Boston Ivy Parthenocisus tricuspidata, an invasive from gardens, which has leaves which are always lobed, turn red in the autumn and drop, leaving the stems bare in winter.

Habitat: Dry woods, hedgerows, walls, rocks.

Flowering Period: September-October-November. 

Status: Very common and widespread. An important source of nectar for insects in late autumn when not much else is flowering. Also provides shelter for hibernating insects.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

50% of the visitors to Ivy flowers are flies. From left to right these are Noon Fly Mesembrina meridiana Muscidae, Stomorhina lunata Calliphoridae, Sepsis sp Sepsidae, Greenbottle Lucilia cf illustris Calliphoridae and Drone Fly Eristalis sp Syrphidae.

Flies visiting Ivy flowers. A Parasitic Fly Tachinidae is joined by Drone Flies Eristalis sp Syrphidae and Greenbottles Lucilia sp Calliphoridae.

1 comment:

  1. Also ivy berries are an important food source in winter particularly for thrushes and blackbirds. P.