Sunday 23 June 2019 | 9

Ivy, praise for an outsider

Common ivy (Hedera Helix) does nothing like the others. Green space managers often see this this plant that spreads in abundance with a negative eye, it nevertheless appears to be particularly gifted in many areas and excels in preserving the biodiversity. Trust it, have some faith in it... and it will take care of the rest!

Hr blog

Eccentric, a bit provocative, the ivy (Hedera), one of the Araliaceae family, does as it pleases. Immediately germinated, its young shoots eager to discover the world spread everywhere cheerfully in most climates and on all types of soil, even the least fertile. The plant is available in different species and varieties, wild or cultivated, across the globe. In our temperate regions, it is Hedera Helix (common ivy) that we meet most frequently, crawling in the darkness of the undergrowth, lining the thickets, sliding under the hedges, hoisting itself upon the walls, climbing tree trunks, rising towards the summits! With its multiple lignified stems, the liana moves quickly and redecorates the landscape in its own way. But its moving work, sometimes spreads over kilometres long and up to 30 meters high, is not to everyone's taste ... And this misunderstood artist has fewer fans than critiques.

A gentle rebel

Armed with pruning shears, or even chainsaws, gardeners perceive ivy as an unruly rascal, too robust to be honest, capable of ransacking architecture, or even killing trees! However, even if the gardener sees it as the original skin head in the garden, it’s not really all that bad! With its shaggy cut and overflowing vigour, it certainly embraces fiercely all in its path, but does not destroy. Equipped with small crampons allowing it to hang on, it’s just looking for supports, if possible vertical, to grow towards the light and in favour of hatching its yellow flowers… Far from it is the desire to parasitize, to suffocate or collapse its supports… On the contrary, and it is even very useful to its host: a natural thermal insulator, it also knows how to protect from humidity, drought, erosion or even animal markings… When it is removed, the surfaces it has covered are often better preserved than those where it was not. Of course, it sometimes happens that old, already cracked stones or an end-of-life tree wobbles under its weight, but this good companion is not responsible for their demise! It only slightly accelerates the normal course of things and the regeneration process.

Other strings to its creepers

Among other qualities, ivy is also recognized as a purifier of air polluted by certain poisons. It is also a valuable aid in biological control, as it harbours aphid predator bugs. And not only! Its evergreen and abundant foliage is visited by a multitude of animals. Bats, for example, like to hang there and many birds nest there. In addition, with a development cycle completely offset from most plants, this outsider begins flowering when autumn arrives and the rest of the vegetation is thinning around. It is therefore a delight for browsers whose basket is less loaded at this time of the year. As a good caretaker, it then offers its fleshy berries (not edible for humans) early on, throughout the winter, with frugivorous avifauna and certain mammals, such as garden door mice or foxes, which love them! Under its troublemaking appearance, ivy therefore has wise dimensions and proves to be an ardent protector of the biodiversity. Take with it its steps by joining in with the Arches of Nature, by letting it become attached to you, it will be able to conquer your heart!

Marie-Sophie Bazin
Hr blog

In the subject

The bramble, the unloved one
Nettles, the friend of butterflies

Comments 9

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Pas | Tuesday 09 July 2019

Magnifique article. Je suis une inconditionnelle du lierre et je l'admire, j'en ai planté sur les murs de mon jardin où il abrite un grand nombre de phasmes, d'araignées et autres petits insectes qui font le régal des nombreux oiseaux qui visitent mon jardin. Je tente d'en planter autour de mon lieu de travail en zone industrielle, le terrain est pauvre mais les boutures sont courageuses, il faut signaler que le lierre est un arbre qui a perdu son tronc au fil des siècles et qu’il ne tue jamais aucun arbre. Le lierre est généreux, ses fleurs offre un délicieux pollen aux abeilles à l'automne, c'est un autre indispensable que nous devons apprendre à connaître et respecter. Cordialement

wallace | Friday 28 June 2019

Laissons-le pousser!

Aline | Thursday 27 June 2019

Bien sûr qu'il faut protéger et planter du lierre. Il faut tout mettre en œuvre pour les animaux et les préserver.

Karine et Philippe | Thursday 27 June 2019

Le lierre est utile pour la biodiversité, même s'il est un peu marginal, nous avons grandement besoin de lui. Laissons la nature telle qu'elle est, préservons-la, avant qu'il ne devienne trop tard et nous n'aurons que nos yeux pour pleurer.