Scientific name: Hedera
Flowering period: early Autumn
Ivy is an evergreen shrub, long-lived, climbing or ground- creeping. Its leaves are arranged alternately, with various shapes, often on the same plant: long-stalked, ovate, triangular, rhomboid or heart-shaped. The climbing ivy creates small aerial roots, which help to hold the plant while climbing through various supports. Its fruit is usually black in color, with 2 to 5 seeds. The best-known species in Greece is Hedera helix (ἕλιξ= helix). Ivy grows best in shaded locations, in moderately moist, neutral or alkaline soils.
Use & History :
Ivy is planted to climb trellises, fences and walls or to cover grounds. Apart from decorative, it has also medicinal properties: its leaves are used for the treatment of respiratory problems.
In the Ancient Greek Mythology, it is associated with the god of wine and ecstasy, Dionysus or Bacchus. When Zeus, the father of the Olympian Gods, attacked Semele, the mortal mother of Dionysus, the earth grew ivy on the columns of the palace to protect the newborn god from the flames that consumed the palace. Since then, Dionysus, in Greco- Roman iconology, appeared crowned with ivy, while his followers, the maenads, the satyrs, Silenus and Pan, were also decorated with ivy wreaths.