The climbing stems, glossy leaves and globular clusters of black berries of Ivy are a familiar sight across town and country. Growing up trees and old walls, carpeting the ground, and forming thick bushes if left unchecked, this creeping plant is not actually a parasite, as many might think, but only gets support from its host. This host might be our house, a shed or a tree in woodland, but none of them will suffer for it. The yellow-green flowers of Ivy are a great source of nectar for autumn insects such as Hornets, Honey Bees and Red Admiral Butterflies. Ivy also provides roosting sites for bats and birds, and a home for hibernating insects like Brimstone Butterflies.
How to identify
Ivy is an evergreen and its glossy, oval leaves with pale veins can be seen throughout the year. Between September and November, look out for the yellow-green flowers that grow in rounded clusters; these are followed by black berries.
Where to find it
When to find it
How can people help
The loss of many of our natural habitats in the countryside mean that the flowers and plants in our gardens provide vital food and shelter for a range of wildlife including butterflies, bees, birds and small mammals. To encourage wildlife into your garden, try planting native species such as Ivy. To find out more about wildlife-friendly gardening, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.