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Leaves on the juvenile stems ovate or heart-shaped, dark green and leathery, 3 to 7 in. across and as much as 10 in. long, entire or slightly lobed, and sometimes with a few small, sharp teeth; leaves on flowering shoots much resembling those of the juvenile state, but less lobed and narrower. Young shoots and inflorescence parts covered with a yellowish scurf of scales with fifteen to twenty-five rays, which are free from each other only at the tips. Fruits black.
Native of the region south of the Caspian and thence westward through the Caucasus to the Pontic ranges of Asiatic Turkey. In the Caucasian forests it reaches huge dimensions but is also found in dry, open places. Of all the ivies it is the most distinct in foliage from the common one, the leaves often being of very large size and strongly cordate at the base.
H. colchica appears to have reached Britain in the 1840s, and certainly by 1851, from the Odessa Botanic Garden; it was generally known at first as “H. roegneriana” (variously misspelt) – a name which, according to Lawrence and Schulze, commemorates Roegner, who was Director of that garden. This introduction is said to have had very leathery, dark green, entire leaves, and plants are still to be seen in gardens which may well descend vegetatively from this introduction,
† cv. ‘Batumi’. – Leaves large, predominantly three-lobed, deep glossy green. propagated from a plant growing up a tree in the Batumi Botanic Garden, USSR. (R. Lancaster, The Garden (Journ. R.H.S.), Vol. 109, p. 246 (1984)).
cv. ‘Dentata’. – A.M.T. 1980.
cv. ‘Dentata Variegata’. – Besides rivalling H. canariensis ‘Gloire de Marengo’ as a climber for walls, this grows well on the ground and will in time cover a wide area. F.C.C.T. 1980. It should have been added that the crushed leaves of H. colchica have a lemony fragrance.
cv. ‘Sulphur Heart’ (‘Paddy’s Pride’). – Mentioned in the last paragraph of the entry (page 354), this is one of the most ornamental of the ivies, its large leaves having a central variegation of gold or lighter green. It is now established that only one clone is involved, for which ‘Sulphur Heart’ is the correct name.