Ivy is one of the easiest climbing plants to recognise with its glossy evergreen leaves having either three of five pointed lobes. It belongs to the Hedera group of tropical plants and is a clinging plant by nature using the small roots that grow outwards from up and down the stem.
Ivy also creeps along the ground if it is level but once it comes across trees, rocks or man-made structures and buildings it starts to climb its way upwards. It can easily reach about 30 metres in height. It has small flowers which are a greenish-yellow which are very rich in nectar which don't usually bloom until late in the year or even in the winter time. The fruit of the ivy plant is a small berry normally a dark blue, black or purple colour containing just a few seeds. These berries should not be eaten by people as they are toxic but birds eat the berries which helps to spread the seed.
Ivy is found all over the world and is considered by many to be an invasive plant. Although it can look attractive and ornamental growing on walls and perhaps the sides of buildings, it is harmful to young trees and bushes. Ivy smothers them and reduces the goodness and nutrients in the surrounding soil and resticts the amount of sunlight and water available.
Ivy has often been popular at Christmas time and goes well with holly and mistletoe. All of these were commonly used to decorate rooms and halls inside the home. However, ivy is considered by many gardeners to be a stubborn and invasive weed that is difficult to remove.
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