Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Hedera helix
L., Araliaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 10 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: common ivy, English ivy, Italian ivy

French: lierre grimpant

Spanish: enredadera, hiedra

Habit:  vine

Description: 

Genus: "Woody vines, creeping or climbing by adventitious roots. Leaves simple, alternate, stipules absent. Flowers perfect, in simple terminal umbels or racemes of umbellules; calyx a truncate rim or 5-toothed; petals 5, valvate; stamens 5; ovary inferior, 5-carpellate, surmounted by a convex disk; styles connate into a short stylopodium; stigmas sessile. Fruit a drupe, dark purple at maturity. Seeds 3-5 per fruit" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 228)

Species: "Leaves of sterile branches broadly ovate, 3-5-lobed, 4-10 cm long, base cordate, those of fertile branches ovate to rhombic, entire, base obtuse to truncate. Inflorescence, calyx, and tips of young branches often pubescent with whitish, 5-6-branched, stellate hairs. Fruit globose, 5-8 mm long, the disk depressed-convex" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 228).

"Climbing perennial.  Stems up to 30 m long, creeping or climbing, becoming stouter and ± erect and often arborescent at flowering; young shoots and petioles green to purplish or burgundy red, with few to numerous, (3)-6-16-(20)-rayed stellate or scale-like hairs.  Leaves glabrous, dark green or variegated ivory white; leaves of non-flowering shoots broadly ovate, obtuse to acuminate, obtuse to cordate at base, usually shallowly to moderately 3-5-palmately-lobed, (1.5)-3-15-(20) cm long; leaves of flowering shoots ovate, rhombic, or elliptic, often narrower and more crowded than leaves of non-flowering shoots, acute to acuminate, obtuse at base, not lobed, up to c. 15 cm long.  Inflorescence a raceme of numerous-flowered globose umbels; petals yellowish green, 3-5 mm long.  Flowers deep bluish purple to black when ripe, 2-3-seeded, 5-8 mm diameter"  (Webb et al., 1988; pp. 145-147).

Habitat/ecology:  "Forests, forest edges, rocky places.  Native habitats include forest floors and trees, and rocky and shady places.  The vine is shade tolerant and climbs along tree trunks but grows also on the forest floor.  it forms dense populations that inhibit the regeneration of native herbaceous species, trees and shrubs.  If growing as a climber, it may smother the host tree"  (Weber, 2003; p. 191).  Creeping along the ground or climbing over vegetation. "Blankets the ground in moist sheltered areas, prevents germination, excludes light, harbours disease, damages and brings down mature trees, changes the ecosystem"  (Weeds of Blue Mountains bushland).

In Hawai‘i, naturalized in the understory of mesic forests.  In New Zealand, in "waste places, riverbeds and stream banks, cliffs, often climbing over trees and fences" (Webb et al., 1988; pp. 145-147).

Propagation:  Seed; rooting from nodes. "Widely cultivated, often escaping and becoming established from vacant lots, cemeteries, and deserted homes.  The seeds are dispersed by birds which readily eat the fruits" (Webb et al., 1988; pp. 145-147).  "Birds eat the berries and excrete the seeds, often in bushland. Ivy also spreads vegetatively, by rooting at leaf nodes. It is also spread by garden rubbish dumping"  (Weeds of Blue Mountains bushland).

Native range:  Temperate Europe and Asia (Webb et al., 1988; pp. 145-147).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (pp. 485, 531, 554)
Voucher cited: Danton I(5/11)1358. "Se encuentra en varios lugares del pueblo de San Juan Bautista, lo más frecuente fuera de los lugares cultivados. En sotobosque, esta especie cubre el suelo de un tapí denso de hojas y trepa a lo largo de los troncos de los árboles. Con el tiempo, esta liana logra ahogar su soporte. Es una evidencia que la penetración de esta especie en la mirtisilva fernandenziana seria como la llegada de un enemigo más, tal vez tan temible como la zarzamora, aúnque sin espinas".
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 228)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 228)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. (2003) (p. 24)
East Maui. Vouchers cited: Starr & Martz 001218-1 (BISH), Starr & Martz 010419-1 (BISH), Starr & Martz 011026-1 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 228)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 18)
Voucher cited: MacKee 31010
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 165)
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
Harley, Barbara (2009)
Canada (British Colombia)
Province of British Columbia
Canada (British Columbia) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 204)
Ornamental.
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Owen, S. J. (1997)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 145)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 47)
Cultivated only
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Oregon) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Washington) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Control:  Additional control information from the Bugwood Wiki.

Physical:  Repeated cutting of the vines.

Chemical:  The leaves have a waxy coating and most herbicides are ineffective. 

"1. Stump swab (all year round): metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g /L). Best for aerial vines.  Use a paint brush to liberally cover the cut surfaces within 15 minutes of cutting and all stem bases where exposed.
2. Spray (summer): glyphosate (10ml/L) or metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g/10L (knapsack) or 40g/100L (spraygun)) or Tordon Brushkiller (60ml/10L). Add penetrant to all mixes.  Do not use for ivy growing against trees"  (Weedbusters New Zealand).

Additional information:
Fact sheet from the Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group.
Photos and additional information at the Environment Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, web site of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Information from the Global Invasive Species Database.
Information from the publication "Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests: A field guide for identification and control".
Information from the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual.
Information from the Bugwood Wiki.
Information and photos at Weeds of Blue Mountains bushland.
Information sheet from Weedbusters New Zealand.

Additional online information about Hedera helix is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Hedera helix as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Hedera helix may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John. 2011. Naturalized species in the Juan Fernández Archipelago, Chile. Unpublished spreadsheet.

Charles Darwin Research Station. 2005. CDRS Herbarium records.

Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.

Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. 1998. Potential environmental weeds in Australia: Candidate species for preventative control. Canberra, Australia. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. 208 pp.

Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido. 2006. Nouveau catalogue de la flore vaculaire de l'archipel Juan Fernández (Chile) [Nuevo catálogo de la flora vacular del Archipélago Juan Fernández (Chile)]. Acta Bot. Gallica 153(4):399-587.

Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP). (online resource).

Harley, Barbara. 2009. Weeds of Blue Mountains bushland. (online resource).

MacKee, H. S. 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 164 p.

Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests: A field guide for identification and control. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. 93 p.

Owen, S. J. 1997. Ecological weeds on conservation land in New Zealand: A database. Working draft. Wellington, New Zealand. Department of Conservation.

Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. 2003. New plant records from the Hawaiian Archipelago. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2001-2002. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 74:23-34.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. 1999. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. Revised edition. Bernice P. Bishop Museum special publication. University of Hawai‘i Press/Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 1919 pp. (two volumes).

Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch. 1365 pp.

Weber, Ewald. 2003. Invasive plants of the World. CABI Publishing, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. 548 pp.

Wu, Te-lin. 2001. Check List of Hong Kong Plants. Hong Kong Herbarium and the South China Institute of Botany. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Bulletin 1 (revised). 384 pp.


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 16 JAN 2004 and was last updated on 23 AUG 2011.