Ivyland with Toby Query

This treehugger episode meanders through Ivyland and investigates the extensive properties and uses of ivy, Hedera helix. Ivies (Araliaceae) are a diverse genus of evergreen plants native to regions spanning Europe, across central-southern Asia, and N Africa. Its botanical name is rooted in Latin; Hedera is related to its traditional medicinal uses. Known for its climbing or ground-creeping nature, ivy offers various ecological benefits such as habitat and shelter for wildlife, acts as a late-season food source for pollinators, offers berries for birds, controls soil erosion, regulates microclimates, and contributes to carbon sequestration. Additionally, it has several human benefits, including air purification, aesthetic appeal, thermal regulation, stress reduction, and medicinal uses. The podcast explores ivy's role in herbal remedies, emphasizing its traditional uses in respiratory health, anti-inflammatory properties, skin health, antioxidant effects, and wound healing. 

Then in a detailed conversation, treehugger guest, Toby Query, discusses the complexity of his relationship with ivy. We explore ivy's growth patterns, methods of removal such as mechanical means and herbicides, and concerns about the environmental impact of these methods. The conversation delves into the benefits of ivy, such as supporting wildlife and contributing to soil moisture and the mycorrhizal network. The need for a context-specific approach to ivy management is emphasized, challenging myths and emphasizing the importance of further research. Ultimately, ivy is recognized as a diverse and ecologically important plant with cultural and historical significance.

Toby Query is an ecologist based in Portland, known for his extensive work in the city's Revegetation Program since 1999. He focuses on stewarding natural areas, particularly the Shwah kuk wetlands, in collaboration with Indigenous communities. Toby is also the founder of Portland Ecologists Unite!, a group which created spaces to learn, discuss, and connect over current ecological issues. He holds a certification as a Senior Ecologist from the Ecological Society of America and is an active contributor to The Nature of Cities website. Toby has a passion for mycelial networks and is engaged in learning and teaching about fungi.

peruse the scientific literature on Hedera helix via Google Scholar, new select articles below:

Detommaso, M., Costanzo, V., Nocera, F., & Evola, G. (2023). Evaluation of the cooling potential of a vertical greenery system coupled to a building through an experimentally validated transient model. Building and Environment, 110769.

Lukas, K., Dötterl, S., Ayasse, M., & Burger, H. (2023). Colletes hederae bees are equally attracted by visual and olfactory cues of inconspicuous Hedera helix flowers. Chemoecology, 1-9.

Milliken, W. (2023). Ethnoveterinary data in Britain and Ireland: can native herbal medicine promote animal health?. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 26, 1-32.

Sax, D. F., Schlaepfer, M. A., & Olden, J. D. (2022). Valuing the contributions of non-native species to people and nature. Trends in ecology & evolution, 37(12), 1058-1066.

Vercruysse, W., Kunnen, K., Gomes, C. L., Marchal, W., Cuypers, A., & Vandamme, D. (2023). Common Ivy (Hedera helix L.) Derived Biochar’s Potential as a Substrate Amendment: Effects of Leached Nutrients on Arabidopsis thaliana Plant Development. Waste and Biomass Valorization, 1-12.

Read Indigenous scholarship!

Wehi, P. M., Kamelamela, K. L., Whyte, K., Watene, K., & Reo, N. (2023). Contribution of Indigenous Peoples' understandings and relational frameworks to invasive alien species management. People and Nature.

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Music for this episode is from John Patitucci and TrackTribe