A to Z Herbarium: Ivy




Protection, healing



Ivy is worn by brides for good luck; women will carry it for good luck in general. It protects against negativity and disaster wherever it grows or proliferates.

Symbolically, ivy is feminine. When paired with holly, which is symbolically masculine, it is said it will bring peace in the home between husband and wife for the following year.



Though ivy is potentially toxic, especially in large doses, it has nevertheless been used to treat ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, colds, and sore throats. It apparently has even been used to get rid of stretch marks.

The thyrsusβ€”a wand or staff used in worshiping Bacchusβ€”was often wound with ivy.

Cunningham’s Encylopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham, 2016, Llewellyn Publications

The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids




  1. I suppose I should get a plant of ivy right away, may be able to bring some good luck in these parts πŸ˜‰
    I even like it.

    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

    • Sara C. Snider

      Unfortunately, ivy’s good luck properties weren’t enough to keep it alive in my attempts to grow it. πŸ˜› I absolutely love it though.

  2. Now I know why we sing about The Holly and the Ivy together – another piece of natural lore that has been absorbed into Christmas. I did not know it represented good luck.
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles – Dragon Diaries

    • Sara C. Snider

      I love how little tidbits like that persist through the years and culture. πŸ™‚

  3. Hi Sara – funny – I’d have thought Holly was feminine and Ivy male … I had an ivy once for about 5 years … til he got left at a house for a longer life … he was called Percy – I see it should have been Percelina. I didn’t know about Ivy bearing good luck – oh! perhaps I should find another Percelina! Cheers Hilary


    • Sara C. Snider

      Same here, but I guess that’s our doing with having Holly as a girl’s name. I love how you named your ivy! πŸ˜€ I’ve not had much luck growing it. Maybe I should give it another shot…

  4. This puts a whole new perspective on the song “the holly and the ivy”.

    I really love your blog series by the way! Have bookmarked your blog to return to for after the A to Z challenge, because I have missed a lot of posts in the busy days past πŸ™‚

    ΒΈ.‒´¸.β€’*´¨) ΒΈ.β€’*Β¨)
    (ΒΈ.β€’Β΄ (ΒΈ.β€’` Β€ Good luck on the rest of your A to Z challenge

    Sylvia @ The Creative Life

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thank you, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. And I hear you about visiting blogs after the Challenge, I’m going to need to do that too. πŸ™‚

  5. Never knew the link between holly and ivy before and I guess that’s why the two are associated with Christmas – to ensure harmony for the coming year. Interesting!

    • Sara C. Snider

      The world’s a happier place with holly and ivy ruling the roost. πŸ˜‰

  6. well, I’ve learned something – the holly and the ivy, pairing the masculine and feminine. Thanks for your words of wisdom Sara.

  7. And now I have “The Holly and the Ivy” stuck in my head forever… πŸ˜€

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF – Weird Things in Folktales

  8. ivy is beautiful. i’ve always loved it, but it won’t grow here. too hot and too dry.

    it makes sense about the pairing, . . . and now i have the song stuck in my head. sigh.

    the thyrsus is new to me.

    • Sara C. Snider

      I also love it. And you’re welcome about the song. πŸ˜‰

  9. I always loved buildings with ivy growing all over the walls, and the name Ivy itself. The Ivy I knew was quite an interesting character! I also didn’t know about the pairing of holly with ivy.

    • Sara C. Snider

      I also love ivy covered buildings! And I have a niece named Ivy. πŸ™‚

  10. I vaguely recall the hollow and ivy combination, but I can’t remember where I heard it. Maybe a festive context?

  11. A wall of our garage is covered in ivy and I always think it’s so lovely. Now I’ll see it with even more regard.

    • Sara C. Snider

      You are lucky indeed, both for the ivy and its beauty! πŸ™‚

  12. Ivy abounds in my neighborhood, which always seems to have a good vibe. And there is plenty of holly, too. First time hearing about this pairing.

  13. Learned quite a bit with this entry — thanks for sharing!

  14. I’ve always wondered about the connection between holly and ivy. I shall wonder no more!

    Another day in Amble Bay!

  15. Hey Sara! How interesting– and it is remarkable how many things are both a poison and a medicine…

    • Sara C. Snider

      It is very interesting. Seems there is often a fine line between health/medicine and sickness.

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