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Ivy: The Invasive Plant Species That Somehow Denotes Class

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Maybe it's just down to that pesky Ivy League, so-named for the thick growth that covered many of the Georgian brick campus buildings, but somehow ivy has come to connote heritage, authenticity, and a reserved, Anglophilic sort of wealth. It is ironic, then, that the leafy vine wreaks such havoc on the lime-based mortar that binds pre-1930s brick. Some homeowners have cut back on the resilient weed as a result, but others are happy to exchange some additional upkeep for the lush texture of a little ivy—or a lot of ivy. This Bernardsville, N.J. manor, known as Peachcroft, was built in 1907 of imported English stone, most of which is now covered by that ivy. Now situated on 10 acres with elevated views of the Somerset Hills and seven bedrooms, the mansion is offered at $4.6M.

? This whole ivy thing is remarkably popular in N.J., as this house in Summit can attest. Brick and built in 1936, the facade of this 3,500-square-foot mansion should fare better than earlier examples when it comes to surviving the vines. The interiors are handsome, if somewhat crudely updated, but the treetop views from the rear of the house are spectacular. With a $3.15M price tag, the next buyer should keep plenty of cash on hand for the necessary updates.

? Down in Easton, Md., on Maryland's Eastern Shore, this 1820 brick manse has the ivy equivalent of a soul patch: the neatly trimmed vertical strip of greenery on the rear facade. The rest of the house is kept immaculately and it caps a magnificent farm that raises more than decorative plants. The 80-acre property, listed for $7.2M, also features a dock for the less farming inclined.

? Tennis star Anna Kournikova was down with the ivy, at least until she listed her Miami Beach, Fla. mansion, which is almost entirely shrouded in the stuff. A former Curbed "House of the Day," the Sunset Island spread has seven bedrooms, all that greenery, and no tennis court, which might explain why Kournikova is jumping ship, well that and the pending $9.4M payday.

? Last up is a much cheaper opportunity to take on that ivy street cred. This two-bedroom Chicago condo sits in a historic building from 1913, with ivy growing throughout the picturesque light well. To use some time-tested real estate lingo, "charming" might be the best way to describe the petite flat, but at $229K it still seems like quite a deal.

· 31 Peachcroft Drive [Trulia]
· 9 Rowan Road [Zillow]
· Knightly [Shoreline Realty]
· Kournikova's Miami Estate For Sale, No Tennis Court Included [Curbed National]
· 2345 Lake Ave [Zillow]
· 871 W Cornelia Ave# 1 [Zillow]