Ivy Hedera helix

A well-known evergreen woody climber.

Ivy is often found carpeting the ground or growing up walls and trees. Its flowers bloom in an umbrella-like spread (see photo, right). In fact the term for such a bloom - an 'umbel' - derives from the same source as umbrella - umbra, the Latin word for shade.

Distribution

Widespread throughout the UK.

Habitat

Woods, hedgerows, rocks, walls.

Best time to see

Flowers September to November.

Did you know?

Ivy is, of course, celebrated with holly in the Christmas Carol of the same name. Its symbolism, however, predates Christianity. As evergreen species both holly and ivy were seen as especially powerful during the leafless days of winter. Sprigs were said to ward off evil spirits and inside the home kept the house goblins at bay. Of the two, ivy - shapely and curvaceous - was said to represent the feminine as compared to the spiky, angular masculinity of holly.

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