English Ivy

English ivy is one of the invasive species that the State of Maryland currently considers the most troublesome. Learn more below.

English Ivy
The Equinest, “Branching Ivy,” October 1, 2010 via Flickr,
Creative Commons Attribution.


English ivy is everywhere. It covers the walls of "ivy league" schools and the outfield wall at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

According to the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Food, English ivy was first imported from Eurasia to North America in colonial days, and has remained popular for its ability to climb and to thrive in the shade. Only recently has it started falling out of favor because of its invasive habits, according to David Beaulieu for About.com Guide.

English ivy has waxy, dark-green leaves. It clings tightly to fences, walls, and trees, and, according to Beaulieu, can easily climb to 50 feet or more.

The Threat

According to the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the weight of a large English ivy infestation can cause large trees to topple in the wind. Also, because English ivy spreads rapidly, it can quickly crowd out native plants. According to Beaulieu, English ivy is also poisonous.

Control and Removal

To minimize damage to other wildlife, experts recommend a combination of control methods, including manual pulling and a limited amount of herbicides. For details, see the Plant Conservation Alliance's English Ivy page.