As controversial as a X-Factor judge thrust into the spotlight, opinion about Hedera Helix is, as they say, sharply divided.
To her detractors, she’s a a demi-monde diva, a licentious celebrity climber, brazenly using others for her own gain. It’s all about her, you know….one look at her sinuous limbs, her sultry charms and you can just guess at the shady goings-on-behind-the-scenes. She’s a serial home-breaker and no stranger to intoxication, either, this femme fatale. Always craving a new high – and then spiralling higher still, is our Hedera. She’s out of control, that one – they say she smothers her partners in her clinging embrace ! Well, over in America, her cousin’s a notorious poisoner ! That’s Hedera Helix all over for you !
On the other hand, compare her to Ivy – now she’s what you’d call a model of discretion. Understated, cool and elegant, she’s an evergreen symbol of fidelity. She is aspirational, but tenacious; ambitious, yet demure. Unforthcoming, her understated beauty often takes people by surprise, glimpsed in passing, but never forgotten. She wears her image lightly, often appearing on her own in public. And her generosity goes almost unnoticed, as she digs deep to provide for total strangers. Hang around long enough, and Ivy will grow on you….
But what if – shock horror! – the Hedera-phobes and the Ivy-adulators were both talking about the self-same individual ? Hedera Helix aka Ivy ?
Believe it or not, glamorous Hedera Helix and coy Ivy are synonymous. Shocking, I know. It’s a bit like discovering that Cleopatra and Clarrie Grundy are one and the same. But it’s true – Hedera Helix is just the botanical name for common Ivy.
And guess what? For the Bermondsey Street Bees, Ivy is a green god-send, cladding the naked city in a shimmering green fabric. Her flowers, pale pollen pom-poms, are just coming into bloom in September, ripe with nectar in abundance for the bees to build up their stores just before autumn sets in.
But for beekeepers, there’s a snag. Hedera Helix honey is the beekeeping equivalent of chewing gum on your shoes. It sets, like a bullet, in the honeycomb and resists all attempts to spin it out from the honeycomb. So I am keeping a close eye on Hedera to see when she bursts onto the scene – but I’m not taking any chances with this alluring, verdant vamp – my honey supers are already off the hives!
Love her or loathe her ? I have a foot in both camps. But one thing’s for sure: call her Hedera or just plain Ivy, she’s got the HeliX-Factor !