Hedera helix ‘Green Ripple’

11 Sep

Hedera helix 'Green Ripple' detail (16/08/2011, Cambridge)

Hedera helix ‘Green Ripple’ detail (16/08/2011, Cambridge)

Position: Full sun to full shade

Soil: Any free draining

Flowering period: autumn

Eventual Height: 10cm

Eventual Spread: Indefinite

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Araliaceae

Hedera helix ‘Green Ripple’ is an evergreen shrub with a prostrate and climbing habit and will form a dense mat. It climbs by means of aerial rootlets which appear from the stems and cling to suitable surfaces. The leaved are alternates and are 50cm to 100cm long and are more angular than those found on Hedera helix and have creamy-green veining. The leaves are of two types; palmately five lobed juvenile found on the creeping and climbing stems, and the unlobed cordate adult leaves found on the fertile flowering stems. Green/ yellow hermaphrodite flowers are produced in late summer to late autumn and are found in 5cm umbles. These are followed by purple/ black berries each of which are 6mm to 8mm in diameter and ripen in late winter. These seeds are dispersed by birds which have eaten the berries.

The species, Hedera helix, commonly known as Common Ivy or English Ivy, is native to most of Europe (including the UK) and  western Asia. In many parts of the United States, parts of Australia and New Zealand it is labeled as an invasive species. Sale or import is banned in the state of Oregon in the US. The variety Hedera helix ‘Green Ripple’ was discovered in 1939 and is particularly suited as ground cover.

The etymological root of the binomial name Hedera is from the old Latin name for Ivy. Helix is derived from the Greek meaning ‘twisted’, in reference to its climbing habit.

Hedera helix 'Green Ripple' (16/08/2011, Cambridge)

Hedera helix ‘Green Ripple’ (16/08/2011, Cambridge)

Hedera helix ‘Green Ripple’ is useful to the landscape architect as an effective ground cover in a variety of locations including shade and the dense habit will suppress weeds. This plant is also recommended for stabilising banks. This plant is very drought tolerant. Care should be taken when locating this plant as its berries are slightly poisonous to humans.

Ecological, Hedera helix ‘Green Ripple’ is a valuable  source of nectar for bees, flies and species of lepidoptera in late autumn. The fruit, which mature in late winter months, are a valuable food source for birds.

Hedera helix ‘Green Ripple’ will tolerate most soil conditions; it will be happy in acid, neutral or alkaline pH levels and will tolerate very alkali soils. I thrives in sandy, loamy or clay based soils and will even tolerate heavy clay, nutrient poor soils.

Hedera helix ‘Green Ripple’ requires little care, pruning of the growing tips may be required to stop it spreading into unwanted areas. If it is used as a ground cover at the base of trees shoots which start to climb the trunk of the tree should be cut to ground level once a year.

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