Hedera Conglomerata - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Hedera Conglomerata Described.
Hedera Conglomerata - Hedera Conglomerata.
Conglomerate Ivy; Nat. Ord. Araliacæ.
I do not introduce this as a flowering subject, but as a dwarf ornamental
shrub; it differs so much from all other species and varieties of Ivy, and is
so beautiful withal, that I trust no further apology is needed for giving it
a place amongst decorative plants and shrubs. I have not been able to learn its
habitat or origin; its stunted tree-like shape, together with other peculiarities,
would indicate that it is a species; be that as it may, it has long had a place
in English gardens, and yet it is seldom met with—it would be hard to explain
why. On a bit of rockwork I have grown a specimen for nearly five years, and
it was an old shrub when planted, yet it is not more than 2ft. in diameter and
1ft. high. It is much admired, and many notes have been taken of it. For rockwork,
it is one of the best dwarf evergreen shrubs I know.
It has very small leaves, densely arranged in flat or one-sided wreaths. They
seldom exceed 1in. in diameter, and are of various forms, as heart-shaped, sagittate,
oval, tri-lobed, and so on. Some are notched, others slightly toothed,
but many are entire. All are waved or contorted, wrinkled and thickened at the
edges, where the younger leaves show a brown line; the under sides are pale green,
and furnished with short stiff brown hairs, as also are the stout leaf stalks.
The upper side of the foliage is a dark glossy green, with shadings of brown.
In substance the leaves are leathery, inclining to stiffness. The stunted branches
have a cork-like appearance as regards the bark, are diffuse, curiously bent,
and sometimes twisted loosely together. It is of slow growth, more especially
in the upward direction, and though provision may be made for it to cling and
climb, and it has also well-formed roots on the branchlets, still, it assumes
more the tree-shape. I never saw or heard of its flowering, much less that it
ever produced seed; if it does not seed we are not only deprived of an ornamental
feature belonging to the genus from the absence of berries, but it proves that
it is only a variety of some species.
It may be grown in any kind of sandy soil, and nothing special whatever is
needed. An open sunny situation will favour its form and colour of foliage; under
trees I have found it to produce larger leaves of plainer shape and more even
colour. During the winter it becomes a conspicuous object on rockwork, where
it seems most at home. It may be propagated by cuttings, and spring is a suitable
season to lay them in; in well dug light soil they soon make plenty of roots.
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