English Ivy (Hedera helix)

Family:

Growth Habit: Extremely hardy dense woody climber. The leaves are 50–100 mm long, with a 15–20 mm petiole; they are of two types, with five-lobed juvenile leaves on creeping and climbing stems, and unlobed cordate adult leaves on fertile flowering stems exposed to full sun, usually high in the crowns of trees or the top of rock faces.

Type of Plant: Evergreen climbing plant, growing to 20–30 m (66–98 ft) high where suitable surfaces (trees, cliffs, walls) are available, and also growing as groundcover where no vertical surfaces occur

Flowers: The flowers are produced from late summer until late autumn, individually small, in 3-to-5 cm-diameter umbels, greenish-yellow, and very rich in nectar, an important late autumn food source for bees and other insects.

Fruit/Seed: The fruit are purple-black to orange-yellow berries 6–8 mm in diameter, ripening in late winter, and are an important food for many birds, though somewhat poisonous to humans.

Dispersal: One to five seeds are in each berry, which are dispersed after being eaten by birds. Can also spread by root fragments.

Distribution: Common throughout Tasmania.

Status: Undeclared but is highly invasive and is a common environmental weed.

Weed Impact:

  • Vigorously smothers other vegetation.
  • Collapses desirable shrubs and fences.
  • All plant parts are poisonous and sap can cause skin irritation.

Control Methods:

  • Plant alternatives, for example; Native clematis (Clematis arista), Purple Appleberry (Billardiera longifolia), Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana) and Banksia Rose (Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’).
  • Hand pull or dig out small plants, removing all roots and layering stems.
  • Cut and paint larger plants, treating all rooting stems. For larger infestations, leave aerial vegetation in trees to die where possible. Pulling it down may cause more damage.

N.B. Always check the herbicide label before use.