Reference desk

Do you have a plant you can’t identify or a question about an unusual feature? Then please ask our botanists. We cannot guarantee to identify plants, especially garden plants, although we may be able to help you by suggesting a plant family.  Please also bear in mind that IAPI is based in the United Kingdom so we may not be familiar with plants from elsewhere in the world.

Please email your enquiry to

Below is an example of an enquiry and the replies from our botanists

Enquiry received August 2019


On two occasions I have now witnessed this conundrum in my back garden.  I have a variegated ivy bush in the garden and without warning its offshoots suddenly do a 90 degree drop, then after a while it springs back up.

Do you have any experience of such?


Reply from IAPI

Thanks for your enquiry. I did pass your question on to two of our botanists and this is what they said:-

‘Many plants will wilt under dry conditions e.g a very hot  or windy sunny day, but will recover quite quickly if it rains or they are watered. There are some plants e.g.the Sensitive plant Mimosa pudica which will suddenly fold its leaves and branches when touched.  I have never heard of Ivy doing this’.

‘Did this come with some sort of picture?  My only thought is that if grown as a bush, which I take to mean free-standing with more or less upright stems, then perhaps ivy changes its orientation of growth looking for something to attach to and climb if possible’.

Hope this helps

Thanks for the reply. The Ivy in question is a small bush which backs onto a small brick flower bed. This particular stem suddenly did a 90 degree angle away from said wall in such a manner that it looked like someone “snapped” it. After a while it suddenly sprang back to its original position. After telling my wife, sometime later we were both sitting out and it happened again. I have tried looking for any spiders etc. that may be pulling it over, but without any success.

Just wish I had had my camera with me at the time. I haven’t seen it since though.

Again thanks for your reply and comments.