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Book cover - Common Weeds of New ZealandAn Illustrated Guide to
Common Weeds
of New Zealand


Hedera helix


Hedera helix - ivyReproduced from
Common Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
New Zealand Plant Protection Society

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the authors and publisher.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always be given.

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Perennial climber with dark green, evergreen leaves and shoots attached to support by aerial rootlets. The small, greenish flowers are followed by black berries.

  • Flowers Yellowish-green petals which are 3-5 mm long. Flowers Mar-May.
  • Fruit Deep bluish-purple to black when ripe, 5-8 mm in diameter, two or three seeded.
  • Leaves Dark green or variegated ivory-white, 3-15 cm long, with very variable shapes.
  • Stems Up to 30 m long, creeping climber, becoming stouter and more erect at flowering. Attached to support by means of aerial rootlets.


Waste places, river-beds, stream banks, cliffs, often climbing over trees and fences.


Scattered throughout NI. In Nelson, Canterbury, Marlborough and Otago Peninsula in SI. Also Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island. Originally from temperate Europe and Asia.


Both berries and foliage can be poisonous, but no poisoning of livestock or children has been recorded in NZ. Sometimes planted as a ground-cover plant. Subject to a Pest Plant Management Strategy in one or more regions. Check with the regional council for details.

Derivation of botanical name

Hedera Lat. name for the plant; helix (Gr. and Lat.) = spirally twisted


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Web-notes: Weed Links

On this site

Reproduced from Common Weeds of New Zealand:

External Links

WeedbustersWeedbusters New Zealand
Weedbusters is a weeds awareness and education programme that aims to protect New Zealand's environment from the increasing weed problem.
A free tool to assist farmers and agricultural professionals in decision-making regarding weed and pest identification, biology, impact and management.
Weed keyNew Zealand Weeds Key
An interactive identification key to the weeds of New Zealand. Developed at Landcare Research.

New Zealand Plant Conservation Network naturalised plants
Search for information on more than 2500 naturalised and weedy plants.
NZ Plant Protection SocietyNew Zealand Plant Protection Society
Their main objective: "To pool and exchange information on the biology of weeds, invertebrate and vertebrate pests, pathogens and beneficial organisms and methods for modifying their effects."
Massey UniversityMassey University Weeds Database
A site providing information about New Zealand weeds and weed control. It has a series of pages showing pictures of New Zealand weeds, notes on identification and control. It also provides information on a university paper entitled Controlling Weeds.

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Last updated: March 1, 2021