Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Hedera helix

Higher Taxonomy
Family: AraliaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb, shrub, tree, woody vine; juvenile, flower plants generally unlike. Stem: generally branched. Leaf: simple or compound, generally alternate; stipules +- fused to +- sheathing, petiole base or 0. Inflorescence: umbels 1 to panicled; bracts deciduous or not. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial, generally < 5 mm; sepals generally 5, fused at base, inconspicuous, persistent; petals generally 5, free, +- white to green, deciduous; stamens generally 5, generally alternate petals; ovary inferior, chambers 1--15, 1-ovuled, styles as many as chambers, free or fused, persistent. Fruit: berry or drupe, occasionally flat, dry.
Genera In Family: 47 genera, 1350 species: especially tropics, subtropics medicinal (e.g., Panax, ginseng; Aralia, sarsaparilla), ornamental (e.g., Aralia, Fatsia, Hedera, Polyscias).
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: HederaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: IVY
Habit: Woody vine; hairs stellate. Stem: juvenile stems climbing by aerial roots; flowering stems fewer, nonclimbing. Leaf: simple, evergreen; generally lobed on juvenile stems; +- entire on flowering stems; stipules 0. Fruit: berry, black [to yellow].
Species In Genus: +- 13 species: Europe, northern Africa, Asia. Etymology: (Latin: sacred plant of Bacchus, god of wine)
Reference: Ackerfield & Wen 2003 Int J Pl Sci 163:593--602
Hedera helix L.
Leaf: on flowering stems < 15 cm, ovate to +- diamond-shaped; petiole, abaxially hairy to +- glabrous. Fruit: +- 5 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=48.
Ecology: Woodland, open, disturbed areas; Elevation: < 1280 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, NCoR, n SNH, GV, CCo, SnFrB, SW (exc ChI, SnJt); Distribution Outside California: native to Europe. Toxicity: Sap can cause contact dermatitis; berries and leaves TOXIC when eaten. Flowering Time: Aug--Nov Note: Widely cultivated in mild-winter regions, generally spreading aggressively.
Unabridged Synonyms: Hedera helix L. subsp. helix
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock
Reference: Ackerfield & Wen 2003 Int J Pl Sci 163:593--602
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock 2012, Hedera helix, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 04, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 04, 2022.

Hedera helix
click for enlargement
© 2009 Steve Matson
Hedera helix
click for enlargement
© 2009 Steve Matson

More photos of Hedera helix in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Hedera helix:
NCo, NCoR, n SNH, GV, CCo, SnFrB, SW (exc ChI, SnJt)
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).