Hedera helix L.

Locations ofHedera helix L. in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Hedera helix L.
Common Name
English Ivy, Common Ivy
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Hedera helix L.
An aggressive and commonly cultivated evergreen vine, often rampant in urban forests and around old country homesites. Most patches may be traced to former cultivation, but some are initiated in remote areas by bird-dispersed seeds. This diploid is apparently the most common species of Hedera in Virginia, but see the comments under Hedera hibernica (Kirchner) Bean (Irish Ivy). The map likely includes records for that tetraploid species; these taxa are morphologically very similar, and have not been distinguished in previous Virginia floristic studies. In both species, the leaves of fertile shoots are unlobed and essentially glabrous, so it is important to collect the lobed leaves of the sterile stems that exhibit the characteristic pubescence. Even so, it can be very difficult to discern the reported differences of trichome architecture in pressed herbarium specimens. Further investigation is needed.
Disturbed forests, hedgerows, and clearings. Frequent in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, rare in the mountains; locally common in some areas. Persisting and spreading from cultivation, and sometimes found in very remote areas. Can be very invasive in urban and disturbed forests, engulfing everything in the understory and climbing to the tops of the canopy trees.
Native Status

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