Botanist's Glossary

Ivy - Hedera helix

  • Description
    • Ivy (Araliaceae family) is a creeping or climbing ligneous plant that can grow up to 30 meters. It uses tendrils to attach itself to trees, walls or rocks. The triangular-lobed leaves become entire and oval-shaped when the plant flowers and bears fruit. An ivy trunk will often have a circumference of 70 to 80 cm. Ivy plants can live for many centuries and survive the tree that they suffocate. Care should be taken with ivy berries, which are toxic.
  • Traditions
    • In Greek mythology, ivy is the plant of Dionysos, god of the vine, and of wine. It is also a symbol of loyal love and friendship, and a common divination plant in European folklore. Ivy has many medicinal properties, but because of its toxic nature, it is used externally only. It has proved very effective in helping to heal stubborn wounds and burns, and also in soothing neuralgia.
  • Properties
    • Ivy extract has vasoconstricting and regenerating properties; it promotes microcirculation and thus helps to combat under-eye circles and puffiness.