The leaves and fruits contain the saponic glycoside hederagenin which, if ingested, can cause breathing difficulties and coma.The sap can cause dermatitis with blistering and inflammation. This is apparently due to the presence of polyacetylene compounds.
A decoction of the leaves is used to restore black fabrics and also as a hair rinse to darken the hair. If the leaves are boiled with soda they are a soap substitute for washing clothes etc. An excellent ground cover for shady places, succeeding even in the dense shade of trees. A very effective weed suppresser. The cultivars 'Hibernica', 'Lutzii' and 'Neilsonii' have been especially mentioned. Plants can be grown along fences to form a hedge. The variety 'Digitata' is very useful for this. Plants have been grown indoors in pots in order to help remove toxins from the atmosphere. It is especially good at removing chemical vapours, especially formaldehyde. The plants will probably benefit from being placed outdoors during the summer.The wood is very hard and can be used as a substitute for Buxus sempervirens (Box), used in engraving etc. Another report says that the wood is very soft and porous and is seldom used except as a strop for sharpening knives.
An infusion of the twigs in oil is recommended for the treatment of sunburn.The leaves are harvested in spring and early summer, they are used fresh and can also be dried.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Hedera helix. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
A very ornamental and hardy plant, it tolerates temperatures down to about -25°c. There are many named varieties, the variegated forms are less hardy than the species and also require more light. Ivy is a rampant climbing plant, clinging by means of aerial roots and often trailing on the ground in woods and hedges. It is of benefit rather than harm when growing on a wall because it keeps the wall dry and acts as an insulation. It does not damage the structure of a wall. Similarly, it does not harm large trees when climbing into them, though it can shade out smaller and ailing trees. It is not a parasitic plant, but instead obtains all its nutrient from the sun and the soil. A very good plant for wild-life, it provides dense shelter for birds, spiders etc, an abundant late supply of nectar for insects and a supply of seeds for winter food. It is a food plant for the larvae of many species of butterfly. A very variable plant, there are many named varieties.This species is notably resistant to honey fungus.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Hedera helix.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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