Ivy, the common name of various climbing or trailing vines. Ivies are native to North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are found growing in the wild and are also cultivated as ornamentals.
There are more than 300 varieties of English ivy, an Old World ivy that thrives in cool, dry places. It is an evergreen vine that often climbs 80 feet (24 m) or more. It clings to trellises and masonry by means of aerial rootlets with adhering disks; it is also a popular indoor plant. Its leaves have three to five lobes and are usually dark green with yellowish-green undersides. Greenish-yellow flower clusters are followed by small black berries. It is grown from cuttings started in sand.
Boston, or Japanese, ivy resembles English ivy, both in form of growth and in appearance. It is a high-climbing woody vine related to the Virginia creeper, or American ivy. Boston ivy bears handsome three-lobed leaves, greenish flowers, and black or blue-black berries. Other ivies are ground ivy, which is native to Europe, and poison ivy, which causes severe skin irritation if touched. German ivy, from southern Africa, bears ivylike leaves and yellowish flowers. Kenilworth ivy, native to Europe, is a trailing vine with five-lobed leaves and violet-colored flowers. Both German ivy and Kenilworth ivy are commonly grown indoors and in greenhouses in the United States.
English ivy is Hedera helix of the ginseng family, Araliaceae. Boston ivy is Parthenocissus tricuspidata of the grape family, Vitaceae. German ivy, Senecio mikanioides, belongs to the composite family, Compositae. Kenilworth ivy, Cymbalaria muralis, belongs to the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae.