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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - July 06, 2011

From: Denham Springs, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identification of vine in Louisiana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have two vines in my backyard. I've looked at pictures of each and they both keep coming up "virginia creeper." However, both are different. Neither causes an allergic reaction. One has leaflets of threes and fives. The leaves are serrated. The stem is woody and often red and has small rootlike tendrils all along it. In fall it turns red. The other vine has serrated leaflets of fives and sevens. Its stem is soft and green with long curly tendrils. The leaves stay green all year. Are these both creepers? If not, what are they? I thought at first that one could be poison oak, but I read that it never has more than 3 leaflets.

ANSWER:

The first vine you describe is, I believe, Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

The second vine you describe, I think, is Cayratia japonica (Bushkiller), an invasive species from Southeast Asia.  Here are more photos and information from Louisiana Ecosystems & Plant Identification, Mississippi State University, and North Carolina Department of Agriculture.  My recommendation is to aggressively work to get rid of it.  All the references above for bushkiller have procedures for removing it.

If the bushkiller doesn't appear to be your vine, please visit our Plant Identification page to find plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.   Perhaps you can submit photos and learn its identity from them.

 

From the Image Gallery


Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

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Bibliography

Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Louisiana (2002) C. M. Allen; D. A. Newman; H. H. Winters

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