Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

English Ivy Hedera helix


enlarge +

English Ivy
© James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service/

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Family: Araliaceae, Ginseng view all from this family

Description Introduced. A vine widely planted as a ground cover, with distinctive leathery evergreen leaves.
Flowers: small, greenish-white, inconspicuous, in small clusters; generated only by mature plants.
Leaves: 2-5" (5-12.5 cm) long; with 3-5 lobes; unlobed and squarish to rounded on mature, flowering plants; palmately veined; dark green.
Fruit: tiny, black berries.
Height: varies, to 50' (15 m) or more; climbing vine or spreading ground cover.

Warning Foliage, sap, and berries are toxic if ingested, for humans and animals, including pets. The sap can cause a rash or other skin reactions in some people.

Habitat Disturbed habitats, roadsides, wood edges, forests and woodlands.

Range Europe native; naturalized in United States, in the East from Massachusetts to Florida, Arkansas, and Texas; in the West in the Pacific states, Arizona, and Utah.

Discussion English Ivy growing picturesquely up the walls of old stone and brick buildings gave the venerable old eastern colleges their nickname the Ivy League. Thought to have been brought to America by the early European settlers, it has had ample time to establish itself and has invaded natural habitats in many areas, where it threatens the native plant life. This shade-tolerant creeper sprawls along the ground, smothering seedlings, and claws its way up tree trunks, straining and sometimes toppling the tree with its weight. Efforts are underway to eradicate this pest in the Redwood forests of California and other areas, and it is widely considered an invasive or noxious weed.