By Alastair Culham
1st December – Hedera helix (Ivy)
1st day of #AdventBotany – Hedera helix – highly variable evergreen leaves symbolize eternity and resurrection. Ivy has a distinctive waxy sheen to the upper surface f the leaf. It’s reputed to keep witches away if you grow it up a house wall. Long associated with mid-winter festivals including Christmas because it stays green even in this cold dark season. All leaves in the first photo are from a single plant while each from the second is from a different taxon!
Ivy contains falcarinol, a natural fungicide.
Each day during advent there will be a new entry by @RNGherb or @DrMgoeswild
From Dr Stephen Jury – The first new molecular studies were done in Reading by Dr Pablo Vargas on a post-doc who continues this work as a member of staff in Madrid. He solved some problems and agreed with McAllister’s earlier unaccepted treatments that are now accepted in a book, following several important publications in botanical journals!
McAllister, H. & Marshall, R., (2017) Hedera: the complete guide. Peterborough, RHS.
See also our #AdventBotany2017 blog on victorian ivy cultivars.