Hedera helix

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAraliaceaeHederaHedera helix


An evergreen perennial woody climber most characteristic of woodland, scrub and hedgerows, but also common on walls, rock outcrops and cliffs. It may carpet the ground in secondary woodland. It generally favours basic to moderately acidic soils. It is highly palatable to deer and stock, and in grazed upland areas becomes restricted to inaccessible rock outcrops. 0-610 m (Mourne Mountains, Co. Down).



World Distribution

European Southern-temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 4

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.6

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1086

Life form information

Height (cm): 3000

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Mega-, meso- and microphanerophyte

Life Form - secondary


Comment on Life Form

genuinely two lifestyles



Clonality - primary

Extensively creeping and rooting at nodes

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2549

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 964

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 14

Atlas Change Index: -0.65

Weighted Changed Factor: -26

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


External Species Accounts

PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (153a) Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology. Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols. Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.