Common ivy (Hedera helix), also called English ivy, is an evergreen climbing plant in the family Araliaceae. It is a liana that can grow on trees, walls, and rocks thanks to short adhesive rootlets. These rootlets don’t have any absorptive property and ivy doesn’t feed on the trees it climbs, unlike mistletoe or other parasitic plants.
Ivy can adapt to many different environments and can grow near seashores, in dry climates such as that of mediterranean countries, and on mountains, as high as 3,300 ft (1,000 m). But its limited resistance to low temperatures won’t allow it to grow in colder climates. It is grown as an ornamental plant and often used to cover walls or houses.
The flowers form greenish-yellow umbels and give rise to small black berries, poisonous to humans. As a medicinal plant, ivy used to be taken for its purgative properties, and extracts still enter into the composition of cough syrups and cough drops.