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Photographer's Note

Walking around the lake Bled I find this attractive part of Grand Hotel Toplice. Hotel's west side is all overgrown with ivy.

Common Ivy

Hedera helix (Common Ivy) is a species of ivy native to most of Europe, from Ireland northeast to southern Scandinavia, south to Spain, and east to Ukraine and also northern Turkey in southwestern Asia. The northern and eastern limits are at about the -2癈 winter isotherm, while to the west and southwest, it is replaced by other species of ivy.
The plant is considered invasive and destructive in parts of Australia and the United States. Its sale and cultivation is banned in several places.
It is an evergreen climbing plant, growing to 2030 m high where suitable surfaces (trees, cliffs, walls) are available, and also growing as ground cover where there are no vertical surfaces. It climbs by means of aerial rootlets which cling to the substrate. The leaves are alternate, 50100 mm long, with a 1520 mm petiole; they are of two types, with palmately five-lobed juvenile leaves on creeping and climbing stems, and unlobed cordate adult leaves on fertile flowering stems exposed to full sun, usually high in the crowns of trees or the top of rock faces. The flowers are produced from late summer until late autumn, individually small, in 35 cm diameter umbels, greenish-yellow, and very rich in nectar, an important late autumn food source for bees and other insects. The fruit are purple-black to orange-yellow berries 68 mm diameter, ripening in late winter, and are an important food for many birds, though somewhat poisonous to humans. There are one to five seeds in each berry, which are dispersed by birds eating the berries.
There are three subspecies:
- Hedera helix subsp. helix
Central, northern and western Europe. Plants without rhizomes. Purple-black ripe fruit.
- Hedera helix subsp. poetarum Nyman (syn. Hedera chrysocarpa Walsh)
Southeast Europe and southwest Asia (Italy, Balkans, Turkey). Plants without rhizomes. Orange-yellow ripe fruit.
- Hedera helix subsp. rhizomatifera
McAllister. Southeast Spain. Plants rhizomatiferous. Purple-black ripe fruit.
The closely related species Hedera canariensis and Hedera hibernica are also often treated as subspecies of H. helix, though they differ in chromosome number so do not hybridise readily. H. helix can be best distinguished by the shape and colour of its leaf trichomes, usually smaller and slightly more deeply lobed leaves and somewhat less vigorous growth, though identification is often not easy.

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Additional Photos by Sasko Glavica (Fante) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 615 W: 62 N: 1030] (5429)
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