Hedera helix - L.
English Ivy
Other Common Names: English ivy
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Hedera helix L. (TSN 29393)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.147683
Element Code: PDARA06010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Ginseng Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Apiales Araliaceae Hedera
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Hedera helix
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (12Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNA), Arizona (SNA), California (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNA), Hawaii (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNA), Michigan (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA)
Canada British Columbia (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GAexotic, HIexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MAexotic, MDexotic, MIexotic, MOexotic, MSexotic, NCexotic, NJexotic, NYexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, SCexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, WAexotic, WVexotic
Canada BCexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: High/Medium
Rounded I-Rank: High
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Hedera helix is shown to negatively effect forest biodiversity, especially in the Pacific Northwest. It is also a popular landscaping plant. There is no guaranteed method for either keeping H. helix out of natural areas or removing it once it has established.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 12Mar2004
Evaluator: Fellows, M.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Europe (Weber 2003), including England, Ireland, the Mediterranean and northern Europe (Bossard et al. 2000).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: (Bossard et al. 2000; Swearingen and Diedrich 2000).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance
Comments: Leaf litter adds nitrogen to the soil (Bossard et al. 2000).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:High significance
Comments: As a ground cover, the dense growth and abundant leaves form a thick canopy just above the ground that prevents sunlight from reaching herbs and seedlings (Morse pers. comm.). Vines that climb up trees, up to 30m, slowly kill the tree from the base upwards by enveloping branches and twigs, blocking sunlight, causing branch and eventual tree death (Thomas 1980; Swearingen and Diedrich 2000; Weber 2003). The added weight of vines also makes trees susceptible to blowing over during storms. Threatens structure of invaded habitats (Thomas 1980; Okerman 2000; Swearingen and Diedrich 2000).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Moderate significance
Comments: Can form dense populations that prevent native plant (both understory and tree) establishment, threatening long-term persistence of forests (Bossard et al. 2000; Weber 2003). May kill host tree (Bossard et al. 2000; Swearingen and Diedrich 2000).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Moderate significance
Comments: May replace species used by native wildlife (Bossard et al. 2000). Is a reservoir for bacterial leaf scorch (Xylella fastidiosa) which infects and harms oaks, elms, and maples (Swearingen and Diedrich 2000). Reduces habitat for bald eagles by toppling nesting and roosting trees (Pickering 1999).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Moderate significance
Comments: Primarily a threat to G2S1 Sitka sprice swamp communities in Oregon, where it also reduces habitat for bald eagles by toppling nesting and roosting trees (Pickering, The Nature Conservancy, Oregon pers. comm.). Hedera helix usually inhabits urban greenbelts, but is capable of invading more important forested areas (Reichard, Univ. of Washington, pers. comm.).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Western coastal states, AZ, UT, TX and Eastern US (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:High/Moderate significance
Comments: It is a serious problem in the coastal Pacific Northwest, and from Virginia to New York in the east coast (Bossard et al. 2000). It is on 6 Exotic Pest Plant lists (TN, KY, GA, VA, CA and WI) (Invasive.org 2003).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Moderate significance
Comments: Potential to occur in over 48 ecoregions, inferred from Kartesz (1999) and TNC (2001). However, only known to be established in at least 20 TNC ecoregions, esp. in Eastern states (Morse, NatureServe, pers. comm.)

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Forests, forest edges, rocky places (Weber 2003). Woodlands, forest edges, fields, hedgerows, coastal areas, salt marsh edges, and other upland areas where soil moisture is present (Swearingen and Diedrich 2000).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: General range as escape in USA has been well established for decades (cf. Kartesz, 1999), but additional reports at state or local level within general range documented in recent years (Morse pers. comm.).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Inferred - widespread throughout the US region.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Imported originally as an ornamental, but also planted for weed control (Bossard et al. 2000). Birds, usually non-native, can disperse the seeds (Bossard et al. 2000; Swearingen and Diedrich 2000; Weber 2003).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Vegetaive reproduction allows it to spread quickly once it is established (Bossard et al. 2000).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Moderate significance
Comments: Forests, forest edges, rocky places (Weber 2003). Bird dispersed seeds are easily transported beyond cultivated fields. Hedera helix success as a climber suggests that it is adapted to establish in late successional forests (Bossard et al. 2000). Once established, it is expected that Hedera helix will move beyond the intended boundaries, especially in areas of disturbance (Swearingen and Diedrich 2000). Hedera helix only seems to invade areas where there has been some disturbance - at least a gap in the forest (Reichard, Univ. of Washington, pers. comm.). While some of the literature claims minor disturbance needed, it can invade intact spruce swamp with 400+ year old trees and no evidence of high-grading (Pickering, The Nature Conservancy, Oregon, pers. comm.).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:High/Low significance
Comments: Australia and New Zealand (Weber 2003). Canada (Kartesz 1999; Bossard et al. 2000).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Can spread up to 30 m, where stem fragments root easily (Weber 2003). The familiar vining plants are juveniles and do not produce flowers or fruits, however shrub-form, adult, plants produce abundant fruit (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Repeated mechanical removal of vines or repeated burning of individuals may be most successful methods; herbicides don't work (Weber 2003). Can cut, but will have to make repeated visits, as initial cutting will cause extensive resprouting (Swearingen and Diedrich 2000). Can use Garlon to kill plant in place (Swearingen and Diedrich 2000). There is no guaranteed method for successful removal (Okerman 2000).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Can cut, but will have to make repeated visits, as initial cutting will cause extensive resprouting (Swearingen and Diedrich 2000). Time required is dependent on size of invasion (Okerman 2000).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance
Comments: Removing vines from trees from the ground can damage the trees (inferred). If disturb the forest floor during removal, may stimulate Hedera helix to reinvade (Bossard et al. 2000).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:High significance
Comments: The American Ivy Society (http://www.ivy.org/) actively encourages use of the over 400 cultivars of ivy.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Bossard, C.C., J.M. Randall, and M. Hoshovsky. (eds.) 2000. Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

  • Douglas, G.W., G.D. Straley, and D. Meidinger, eds. 1998b. Illustrated Flora of British Columbia, Vol. 1, Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons (Aceraceae through Asteraceae). B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Wildl. Branch, and B.C. Minist. For. Res. Program. 436pp.

  • Invasive.org. 2003. Species Account. ONLINE. http://www.invasive.org. Accessed 2004, February.

  • Johnson, J. 2016. The Vascular Plants of the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario. W.D. Keeling Printers Ltd., Owen Sound, Ontario. 298 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1996. Species distribution data at state and province level for vascular plant taxa of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (accepted records), from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, December, 1996.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Okerman, A. 2000. Combating the "Ivy Desert": The Invasion of Hedera helix (English Ivy) in the Pacific Northwest United States. Available ONLINE http://www.hort.agri.umn.edu/h5015/00papers/okerman.htm. Accessed 12 March 04.

  • Swearingen, J. and S. Diedrich. 2000. Plant Conservation Alliance - English Ivy (Hedera helix). ONLINE. . Accessed 12/17/03.

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • Thomas, L. K. 1980a. The impact of three exotic plant species on a Potomac island. National Park Service scientific monograph series; No. 13. U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 179 pp.

  • Weber, E. 2003. Invasive plant species of the world: a reference guide to environmental weeds. CABI Publishing, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 548 pp.

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