Tuesday, February 26, 2019

ivy never sere

Ivy, and yet not. This strange sight is a large patch of Hedera colchica (Persian Ivy) in wet woodland beside the railway track in Bridgemead, Swindon.

It's having a go at climbing the trees, but it's a rather slow climber compared to the Common Ivy (Hedera helix), although it does have the same impressive clinging roots. However in warm climates it outcompetes other ivies, so we'll keep seeing more of it.

Hedera colchica is widely grown here as low-maintenance ground cover, usually in forms with variegated leaves (presumably they revert when the plant goes wild). It is considered useful, like all ivies, for shady spots, and is less threatening to foundations and drainpipes than the native species.

Hedera colchica is native to the Caspian region, the humid western Caucasus and Pontic ranges in northern Turkey. It likes humid microclimates e.g. on mountain ranges and in cloud forests. "In the Caucasian forests it reaches huge dimensions" (Bean's Trees and Shrubs). This is in the vegetation belt known as Colchis forest (20m-1400m). 

Below, a variegated specimen beside the bowling alley on Shaw Ridge, and a close-up of the fruits.

I come to pluck your berries, harsh and crude...

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