A very common shrub, crawling about old trees, or upon old walls; it sometimes runs upon the ground for want of such support, but then it rarely bears any fruit. The trunk is thick, brown, and covered with a peculiar roughness. The branches are numerous and brittle. The leaves have a strange variety of shapes, oblong, angular, cornered, or divided. The flowers stand in little round clusters, and they are small and inconsiderable: they are succeeded by large berries. The leaves upon the young shoots that bear the flowers are always oblong; those on the trunk are angulated. They are all of a deep glossy green.
The leaves and berries are both used, but neither much. A decoction of the leaves destroys vermin in children's heads, and heals the soreness that attends them. The berries are purging; an infusion of them will often work also by vomit, but there is no harm in this: they are an excellent remedy in rheumatisms, and pains of all kinds, and, it is said, have cured dropsies; but this is perhaps going too far.
The ivy in the warm countries sweats out a kind of resin, which has been used externally at some times, on various occasions; but at this time, it is quite unknown in practice.