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English ivy (Hedera helix).—Sven Samelius
Any of about five species of evergreen woody vines (rarely shrubs) that make up the genus Hedera in the ginseng family, commonly grown as ground covers and on stone walls, especially English ivy (H. helix), which climbs by aerial roots with adhering disks that develop on the stems. The tough, dark-green leaves of English ivy have three to five lobes and tend to droop horizontally from the stem. Unrelated plants called ivies include Boston ivy (Parthenocissus, or Ampelopsis, tricuspidata), a clinging woody vine in the grape family whose leaves turn bright scarlet in autumn, and poison ivy.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on ivy, visit Britannica.com.