Ivy or Not Ivy

Ivy (Hedera helix,) an evergreen climbing plant, is a common sight in woods and on trees across Britain
It’s an important plant for wildlife, providing shelter, berries and nectar at times of the year when these are scarce. 


The first growth phase, as ivy climbs from ground level, into the tree


The second phase of ivy growth, with an oval shaped leaf

The plant spreads across the ground until it finds a tree to climb, then using micro-rootlets to grip the trunk, climbs the trees. The ivy changes its leaf shape once it has climbed the tree, from a palmate (pointed, star-shaped) leaf to an elliptical shape. Only after this will it flower and have berries. 

Ivy has been unpopular amongst foresters for many generations, their view being test iT world stamp and kill trees. In fact ivy would rarely swamp a healthy tree. 
In the modern age it has been suggested that mild winters have made ivy more vigorous. Ivy also poses a threat to trees by acting as a wind-catcher during winter storms, increasing the likelihood of the trees being blown over. 


It looks like ivy will be controversial for years to come. 

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