is a genus of climbing or ground-creeping evergreen woody plants in family Araliaceae, consisting of 15 species. It is native to the Atlantic Islands, western, central and southern Europe, northwestern Africa and Japan. It is commonly known as Ivy, Bindwood and Lovestone ( for the way it clings and grows over stones and brickwork).
Hedera is the most versatile of all climbing plants, with the large forms covering walls and tree stumps and small one growing in hanging baskets and containers. It is cultivated for use as groundcover, attracting wildlife and for the evergreen foliage. However, Hedera have been proved to be an invasive weed in the parts of North America where winters are not severe, with their cultivation there being discouraged.
Hedera flowers are produced in small, greenish-yellow, in 3-5cm diameter umbels, and are very rich in nectar which attract bees and other insects in late summer and autumn; the fruits are small black-berries ripening in late winter and are an important food source for the birds, though the fruits are poisonous to human. The seeds are then dispersed by the birds.
'Oro di Bogliasco' (syn. 'Goldheart') is the only gold form that will do well in shade. Other leaf colors grow well in sun or shade. H. colchica
has large, dark green leaves that are excellent for groundcover. There are many forms of Hedera helix
, such as 'Atropurpurea' which has bronze-purple leaves in winter; and others, such as 'Buttercup' has yellow leaves in full sun.
Hedera species are food plants for larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) species, such as Angel Shades, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Scalloped Hazel, Small Angel Shades, Small Dusty Wave, Swallow-tailed Moth and Willow Beauty.
Plant Hedera in sun or shade, fertile, well-drained and alkaline soil. Propagation is by root cuttings in summer. Pests and diseases are aphids, red spider mites and leaf spot.