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Virginia creeper

Botanical Name:

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Common Name:

Virginia creeper,Hiedra,Parra,Vigne vierge à cinq folioles,American Ivy,American Woodbine,False Grape,Five-Leaved Ivy,Five-Leaves,True Virginia Creeper,Wild Wood Vine,Woodbine,Ampelopsis hederacea,Ampelopsis quinquefolia,Vitis quinquefolia,Virginia-creeper

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Description

A woody, dedicuous vine, Virginia Creeper can be high-climbing or trailing, 3-40 ft.; the structure on which it climbs is the limiting factor. Virginia Creeper climbs by means of tendrils with disks that fasten onto bark or rock. Its leaves, with 5 leaflets, occasionally 3 or 7, radiating from the tip of the petiole, coarsely toothed, with a pointed tip, and tapered to the base, up to 6 inches long. Leaves provide early fall color, turning brilliant mauve, red and purple. Inconspicuous flowers small, greenish, in clusters, appearing in spring. Fruit bluish, about 1/4 inch in diameter. Virginia Creeper can be used as a climbing vine or ground cover, its leaves carpeting any surface in luxuriant green before turning brilliant colors in the fall. Its tendrils end in adhesive-like tips, giving this vine the ability to cement itself to walls and therefore need no support. The presence of adhesive tips instead of penetrating rootlets also means it doesnt damage buildings the way some vines do. It is one of the earliest vines to color in the fall. A vigorous grower, it tolerates most soils and climatic conditions. In years past, children learned a rhyme to help distinguish Virginia Creeper from the somewhat similar-looking and highly toxic Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans): Leaves of three, let it be; Leaves of five, let it thrive. Poison Ivy leaflets are normally in groups of three, while those of Virginia Creeper are in groups of five. The berries of Virginia Creeper can be harmful if ingested, however, and the rest of the plant contains raphides, which irritate the skin of some people.

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Taxonomy

Order

Rhamnales

Family

Parthenocissus

Genus

Parthenocissus

Characteristics

Bloom Time

Spring, Summer, May, Jun

Plant Type

Climbers, Ground Cover, Native Plant, Poisonous, Vine

Lifespan

Perennial, Woody

Plant Height

12-36 ft.

Flower

Greenish white flowers appear in late spring to early summer on the upper leaf axils of the Virginia creeper, but are generally hidden by the foliage and are ornamentally insignificant. In North Carolina, flowers are available from May to July.

Fruit

In North Carolina, fruits are available from July to August. Blue-black berries (to 3/8” diameter) are hidden by the foliage and are often not visible until autumn leaf drop, Black, Blue

How to Grow

Water

Average, Low

Sunlight

Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade, Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day), Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day), Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours), Sun, Part Shade

Soil

Moist, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Rocky, Limestone-based Caliche type

Heat Tolerant

yes

Cold Tolerant

yes

Benefits
Ornamental

Attractive, Fall conspicuous, Twines on fences & other plants, Screens, Climbs walls & columns, Arbor, Ground cover. Unlike some climbing vines, it adheres via adhesive discs rather than penetrating rootlets, so it wont damage buildings.

Attracts

Birds

Bees

Pollinators

Small Mammals

Songbirds

Warning

POISONOUS PARTS: Berries. Highly Toxic, May be Fatal if Eaten! Symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, bloody vomiting and diarrhea, dilated pupils, headache, sweating, weak pulse, drowsiness, twitching of face. Toxic Principle: Oxalic acid and possibly others. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.) Also, the plants tissues contain raphides, which can irritate the skin of some people. It is far less likely to irritate, and less irritating than, Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), though, which it somewhat resembles and with which it is often confused.

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