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Hedera helix

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Hedera communis
  • Hedera poetica
Phonetic Spelling
HED-er-ah HEE-licks
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Ground cover, invasive, aggressive once established; consider using other groundcovers that do well in the partial or light shade instead of Hedera helix.  It is commonly grown as a houseplant. 

Prefers partial shade to shade and rich, acidic, loamy soil; however, it will tolerate a range of soil conditions. Many small-leaved cultivars available; full sun may burn leaves in the winter; established vines are drought tolerant; very hardy; adult and juvenile forms. This plant is frequently damaged by deer and is moderately salt tolerant.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves alternate, palmately l3-5 lobed & venation
  • Evergreen groundcover or climbing vine by adventitous rootlets
  • Leaves prominately light pigmented along major veins

A woody, evergreen vine often used as a groundcover 6-8" tall but can be high climbing.

Cuttings taken from adult part of plant will develop into a shrub form; fruits ornamental, appearing as a bunch of "grapes". but poisonous when ingested; utilized as an exterior ground cover, or in planters or low walls, excellent for banks & difficult areas; will become invasive; on trees and shrubs, heavy production of foliage will shade out host plant, stressing and can kill host. 

Exterior plants typically belong to var. hibernica; also utilized as an interior plant, often in hanging baskets, tall planters, or grafted standards on X Fatshedera lizei stock; these cultivars are commonly from a different variety, not as cold hardy, with smaller leaves and often exhibiting much deeper sinuses, that more prominately lobed to the eye.

Rapid growth; alkaline tolerant; moderately salt tolerant; several pest-disease problems.

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Baltica'
  • 'Bulgasia'
  • 'Buttercup'
  • 'California'
  • 'Glacier'
  • 'Gnome'
  • 'Gold Child'
  • 'Treetop'
    Adult form growing as compact shrub, leaves mostly unlobed
Tags:
#evergreen#invasive#poisonous#houseplant#salt tolerant#apvg#cpp#fantz#perennial weed
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Baltica'
  • 'Bulgasia'
  • 'Buttercup'
  • 'California'
  • 'Glacier'
  • 'Gnome'
  • 'Gold Child'
  • 'Treetop'
    Adult form growing as compact shrub, leaves mostly unlobed
Tags:
#evergreen#invasive#poisonous#houseplant#salt tolerant#apvg#cpp#fantz#perennial weed
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Hedera
    Species:
    helix
    Family:
    Araliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eurasia
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Moderately salt tolerant.
    Climbing Method:
    Clinging
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Poisonous
    Vine
    Weed
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Creeping
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Conspicuous cluster of black berry-like drupes.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Description:
    Flowers small, greenish-yellow, 5-parted. An umbel or compound umbels. Greenish-white, only occuring on mature branches.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Palmasect
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves alternate, simple, the juvenile form palmately 3-5-lobed, usually lacking hairs, often variegated. Evergreen, 3-5 palmate lobes with palmate venation when juvenile, ovate to rhombic on mature/adult branches borne well off the ground; leaves dark green above and lustrous, prominently whitish-gray becoming lighter green with age borne adjacent to major veins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Produce adventitious roots for climbing.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heavy Shade
    Salt
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Poisonous to Humans
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Severe skin irritation with redness, itching, and blisters following contact with cell sap; burning sensation of the throat after eating berries; delirium, stupor, convulsions, hallucinations, fever, and rash following ingestion of leaves
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Triterpenoid saponins and polyacetylene compounds
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems