Cissus trifoliata (L.) L.
Cow-itch Vine, Cow Itch Vine, Sorrelvine, Grape Ivy, Possum Grape, Arizona Grape Ivy
Vitaceae (Grape Family)
Synonym(s): Cissus incisa, Sicyos trifoliatus
USDA Symbol: CITR2
A mostly herbaceous vine, large ones woody at the base, with thick, fleshy leaves yielding a fetid odor when crushed. Climbing on trees, buildings, fences, and shrubs, frequent to common. Leaves up to 3 1/2 inches long including the petiole, commonly 3 lobed or divided into 3 leaflets with the terminal one symmetric and the laterals asymmetric. Tendrils coiling at the tip. Flowers small, in greenish flat topped to rounded clusters up to 2 inches wide. Fruit broadly ovate, 1/4 to 1/3 inch long, black when ripe.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Twining stems up to about 30 feet long.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow , Green , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Greenish, greenish yellow, whitish or purplish.
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , AZ , FL , GA , KS , LA , MO , MS , NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: Arizona east to Georgia and north to Missouri, south through Mexico and Central America to northern South America
Native Habitat: Cissus trifoliata grows in chaparal, salt marshes, stream banks, open woodlands, and disturbed areas. It sprawls and climbs over rocks, shrubs, and trees. It is found throughout most of Texas.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Conditions Comments: Cissus trifoliata is a common vine with fleshy leaves that are generally 3-lobed and coarsely toothed but extremely variable in form. The vine has tuberous roots, a woody base, and fleshy structure above. It has clusters of small berries that become black when mature. The leaves give off a sharp odor when crushed.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Larval food.
Warning: The roots of this species are poisonous and its sap can cause contact dermatitis on the skin of those sensitive to it.
Interesting Foliage: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0922 Collected Aug 27, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
NPSOT 0917 Collected Jul 24, 1994 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1105 Collected 2007-09-29 in Hays County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Cissus trifoliata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cissus trifoliata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cissus trifoliata
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-03
Research By: NPC