Under Cover

There’s something picturesque about ivy twining its way up a tree trunk, the contrast of glossy green pointed leaves against furrowed bark.

ivy1But in Portland English ivy, Hedera helix, is invasive.  Letting it ramble up tree trunks over time can have serious consequences.

Ivy_tree6This tree is so completely covered in ivy it’s almost impossible to tell what’s underneath.

Ivy_tree2It’s one of a trio in a curbside planting strip. The ivy’s working its way along.  The second and third tree look like they still have a chance at making it.

Ivy_tree3Actually, it’s hard to believe but the the overtaken tree is still living and from the leaves it looks like it’s a glorybower tree, Clerodendrum trichotomum.

Ivy_tree5You can learn about the damaging effects ivy in our city’s natural areas, removal methods, or how to volunteer with Portland Parks & Recreation’s “No Ivy League”  here. This organization is dedicated to saving trees by eradicating ivy in Forest Park.

Ivy isn’t the only weed that can attack a tree in this way.  Clematis vitalba, known by the common names Old Man’s Beard or Traveler’s  Joy, gives ivy a run for its money.  If things like this don’t give you nightmares, go ahead and read up about this noxious weed on this bulletin posted by the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.  See here for their leaflet on ivy also.


I wonder what kind of tree is underneath this mess?


This entry was posted in Street trees, urban tree and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Under Cover

  1. Loree says:

    Those last two images are fabulously creepy, if not for the blue sky they’d be great Halloween photos. We inherited a holly tree covered in Clematis vitalba, it was an ugly mess that didn’t come out easily! Bad bad stuff.

  2. Kimie Fukuda says:

    Those pictures really sum it up! I wish that people were taught these basics about the environment in school–it’s as important as the recycle mantras and I think images like this would help it stick? Hmm. Interesting how plant realm problems seem to have a life of their own–and can easily become an emotional one about people’s choice? I wonder why?

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