Ivy

Name: Ivy

Scientific name: Hedera helix

Category: Flowers

Nature Stars: 40

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The climbing stems, glossy leaves and globular clusters of black berries of Ivy are a familiar sight across town and country. Growing up trees and old walls, carpeting the ground, and forming thick bushes if left unchecked, this creeping plant is not actually a parasite, as many might think, but only gets support from its host. This host might be our house, a shed or a tree in woodland, but none of them will suffer for it.

The yellow-green flowers of Ivy are a great source of nectar for autumn insects such as Hornets, Honey Bees and Red Admiral Butterflies. Ivy also provides roosting sites for bats and birds, and a home for hibernating insects like Brimstone Butterflies.

How to identify: Ivy is an evergreen and its glossy, oval leaves with pale veins can be seen throughout the year. Between September and November, look out for the yellow-green flowers that grow in rounded clusters; these are followed by black berries.

Where: Very common, grows all over the UK and Ireland

Fantastic fact: Ivy berries are sometimes used for tanning leather and dyeing textiles.

Photograph credit: Philip Precey


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