Ivy-leaved toadflax

Cymbalaria muralis
Plantain family (Plantaginaceae)

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Cymbalaria muralis, with common names ivy-leaved toadflax, Kenilworth ivy, coliseum ivy, Oxford ivy, mother of thousands, pennywort, wandering sailor, is a flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae native to Mediterranean Europe and widely naturalised elsewhere.

Description and habitat

It spreads quickly, growing up to 5 cm (2.0 in) tall – it commonly grows in rock and wall crevices, and along footpaths. The leaves are evergreen, rounded to heart-shaped, 2.5 to 5 cm (1.0 to 2.0 in) long and wide, 3–7-lobed, alternating on thin stems. The flowers are very small but distinctly spurred, similar in shape to snapdragon flowers. Flowers from May to September.


This plant has an unusual method of propagation. The flower stalk is initially positively phototropic and moves towards the light. After fertilisation, it becomes negatively phototropic and moves away from the light. This results in seed being pushed into dark crevices of rock walls, where it is more likely to germinate.


Cymbalaria muralis is native to south and southwest Europe, the Southern Alps, eastern Yugoslavia, southern Italy and Sicily. It has spread throughout the world as an invasive plant, including the United States, the British Isles, Australia and New Zealand.

It is said to have been introduced into England by accident when a shipment of sculptures was brought to Oxford. It was first introduced early in the 17th century and was widely planted in the UK up to the 19th century.


External links

  • Media related to Cymbalaria muralis at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Cymbalaria muralis at Wikispecies
  • Jepson Manual Treatment
  • Photo gallery



WWW info

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