Nekemias arborea (L.) J. Wen & Boggan
Vitaceae (Grape Family)
Synonym(s): Ampelopsis arborea
USDA Symbol: NEAR5
A deciduous to semi-evergreen vine that can be ground cover-like, but is often high-climbing and bushy. Grows 35 ft. or more. Foliage is bi- or tri-pinnately compound and dark-green, turning pale-yellow in fall. Leaves up to 6 inches or more long and equally wide, with a central axis and 1 to 3 pairs of lateral axes supporting leaflets. Leaflets roughly ovate, coarsely toothed, dark green on the upper surface, lighter on the lower. Flat-topped clusters of tiny, green flowers are followed by clusters of pea-sized, bluish-purple berries. Fruit fleshy, up to 5/8 inch in diameter, black and shiny when ripe, inedible.
Fast-growing and short-lived. The species is particularly aggressive and rampant, considered by many to be a pest. It is seldom cultivated.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub , Vine
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Climbing vine, with support to 30-40 feet; often less.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , DC , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NM , OH , OK , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Distribution: FL to e. TX, n. to MD & e. OK; also Miss. R. valley to s. IL & MO
Native Habitat: Swamps; marshes; alluvial woods; stream banks
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Quite variable. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: It is deciduous to semi-evergreen vine that can be ground cover-like, but is often high-climbing and bushy. Foliage is dark-green, turning pale-yellow in fall. Flat-topped clusters of tiny, green flowers are followed by clusters of pea-sized, bluish-purple berries. It is fast-growing and short lived. Caution: This species is aggressive and rampant, and considered by many to be a pest.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Attractive, Fruits ornamental, Fast growing
Use Wildlife: Attracts songbirds and gamebirds. Browse, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals
Interesting Foliage: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Hardwood Cuttings , Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings
Description: Propagate by seed sown in early spring, hardwood cuttings taken in early spring, or layering of runners.
Commercially Avail: 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
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0935 Collected Aug 5, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0967 Collected Oct 5, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 1103 Collected May 5, 1991 in Bexar County by Harold C. Walker
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-MM-791 Collected 2006-10-24 in Hays County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 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 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Nekemias arborea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Nekemias arborea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Nekemias arborea
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-05-25
Research By: Joseph A. Marcus