Although some people enjoy the look of buildings covered with English ivy, this plant can actually harm structures by loosening bricks and native ecosystems by smothering trees. This evergreen climbing vine engulfs whatever is in its path, including shrubs, buildings, or old-growth forest.
English ivy is an evergreen, creeping or climbing vine with aerial roots. It attaches to tree bark, walls, or other surfaces with its sticky roots. Old vines can grow as large as one foot in diameter, but most vines are usually much thinner. Leaves are leathery to waxy and dark green with pale or white markings. Usually the alternate leaves are three to five lobed, but leaves on mature sun-exposed stems can be un-lobed and rounded. Small autumn flowers become small black berries. It can take ten years to flower. The leaves and berries of English ivy are toxic to humans if ingested, but are eaten and spread by birds.