T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Cymbalaria muralis (Ivy leaved toadflax)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Scrophulariaceae (Snapdragons)
Genus: Cymbalaria
Species: C. muralis
Binomial nameCymbalaria muralis.
Synonyms: Linaria cymbalaria
Common names:  Ivy-leaved toadflax or Kenilworth ivy

Cymbalaria muralis is a flowering plant native to Mediterranean Europe and widely naturalised elsewhere. It spreads quickly, growing up to 5cm tall—it commonly grows in rock and wall crevices, and along footpaths. The leaves are evergreen, rounded to heart-shaped, 2.5-5cm long and wide, three-seven lobed, alternating on thin stems. The flowers are very small, similar in shape to snapdragon.

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 and where it prefers to grow. 

Cymbalaria muralis growing from a crack in a concrete wall.

Cymbalaria muralis smothering a tree fern

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/