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Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) | NPIN
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Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch.

Virginia creeper

Vitaceae (Grape Family)

Synonym(s): Ampelopsis hederacea var. murorum, Ampelopsis latifolia, Ampelopsis quinquefolia, Hedera quinquefolia, Parthenocissus hirsuta, Parthenocissus inserta, Parthenocissus quinquefolia var. hirsuta, Parthenocissus quinquefolia var. murorum, Parthenocissus quinquefolia var. saintpaulii, Psedera quinquefolia, Psedera quinquefolia var. murorum, Vitis inserta, Vitis quinquefolia

USDA Symbol: PAQU2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

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.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Vine
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Palmate
Leaf Margin: Dentate
Size Notes: 3-40
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower:
Fruit: Black, Blue
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green
Bloom Time: May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , ON , QC
Native Distribution: Quebec and Ontario south to FL, w. to s.e. MN & TX, south to Guatemala. Zones 5 to 11.
Native Habitat: Chaparral & brush country, open woodlands, shaded woods, streamsides, riverbanks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Rocky, Limestone-based Caliche type
Conditions Comments: Tolerates most soils and climatic conditions.

Benefit

Use 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.
Use Wildlife: Fruit-birds, through the winter, inc. chickadees, nuthatches, mockingbirds, catbirds, finches, flycatchers, tanagers, swallows, vireos, warblers, woodpeckers, and thrushes. A larval host for several species of sphinx moths.
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.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds
Larval Host: Abbotts Sphinx Moth (Sphecodina abbottii), Pandora Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha pandorus), Virginia Creeper Sphinx Moth (Darapsa myron), White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata)
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Virginia creeper sphinx
(Darapsa myron)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Sow seed in fall or stratified and sow in spring. The easiest way to propagate is by hardwood or semi-hardwood cuttings, or by layering in the fall.
Seed Collection: Collect fruits after they have turned bluish black by hand-stripping from vine. Extract seeds from pulp and air-dry. Store in sealed containers at 42 degrees.
Seed Treatment: Stratify in moist sand or peat for 60 days at 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Toadshade Wildflower Farm - Frenchtown, NJ

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
United States Botanic Garden - Washington, DC
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0459 Collected Jun 28, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0466 Collected Jun 29, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

2 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 1255 - Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants (2009) Tallamy, Douglas W.
Bibref 766 - Dale Groom's Texas Gardening Guide (2002) Groom, D.
Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 663 - Poisonous Plants of North Carolina (1994) Vondracek, W. ; L. Van Asch
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.6 - Saving Trees and Plants at New Center Site a Big Job, Director's Report, Wildflo...
Wildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.3 - Hummingbird Gardening, Blooms Beget Butterflies, Butterflies and Hummingbirds Fo...

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Parthenocissus quinquefolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Parthenocissus quinquefolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-09-08
Research By: WFS, GDG

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