A Tale of Two Visitors

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  English ivy (Hedera helix) and wintercreeper euonymus (Euonymus fortunei) are two non-native climbers we are all accustomed to seeing in Ohio landscapes.  Horticulturists and natural area managers often have very different perspectives on these species here in Ohio and in areas, wanted and unwanted, where they grow. What is your “nature and nurture” perspective?


  Images presented here, from a walk on northeast Ohio city streets, illustrate some interesting perspectives.


  English ivy blossoms and mature peaves up close  First, is the mature form of leaves and flowers of English ivy, sometimes un-noticed, often found on vines up in trees, but shown in the first photo above on a mound covering a wall. The juvenile leaves have familiar pointed lobed leaves, but mature growth is of heart-shaped un-lobed leaves and flowers.  I confess to often using the mature leaves and flowers in Diagnostic Workshops as part of Question #1 of the 23 Questions of Plant Diagnostics: “What is the Plant”.


English ivy unvenile and mature leaves


  As the years pass, attendees are more and more aware of these different forms of English ivy leaves, but we all learn first sometime. and I learned this at first surprising revelation, years ago when collecting for a workshop. As we learn together in the green industry it is always important to remember, “What Was It Like Not To Know” (#23 Question of Plant Diagnostics).   


The second set of images is of wintercreeper euonymus. As I spied this in an urban planting, I noticed the groundcover first, then saw it growing up a utility pole, then nothing for a while and then higher up on the pole.  How did it bridge the gap? Then I saw it in growing in the tube along the pole. Tenacious!


Wintercreeper euonymus planting


euonymus emerges up the utility pole



Euonymus growing in the tube


  Learn more, day after day, year after year, about issues, ongoing discussions, growing perceptions and exceptions - associated with non-native plants. Get involved with the work of the Ohio Invasive Plant Council. Their credo:




  The Ohio Invasive Plants Council (OIPC) participates in statewide efforts to address the threats of invasive species to Ohio's ecosystems and economy by providing leadership and promoting stewardship, education, research, and information exchange.


  And the list on their website of their 2015 partners in this education and information exchange is impressive: 


2015 Partners


Case Western Reserve University

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Columbus and Franklin County MetroParks

Crop Production Services -Timberland Division

Crane Hollow

Davey Resources Group

Dawes Arboretum

Dow Agrosciences

Five Rivers MetroParks

Gilson Gardens

Grange Insurance Audubon Center

Hamilton County Park District

KAH Nursery

Miami University

Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN)

National Association of Invasive Plant Councils

Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Natural Areas and Preserves

Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Wildlife

Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association

Ohio State University

Ohio Wetlands Foundation

Ohio Woodland Stewards Program (OSU Extension)

Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum

The Nature Conservancy

The Wilds

Toledo Area Metro Parks

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

United States Forest Service Northeastern Area

University of Cincinnati

University of Dayton




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