Virginia Creeper

  

(Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Virginia creeper is a vigorous spreading vine In the grape family, native to eastern and central North America. It can be a ground cover or reach up to 50 feet in height when climbing up trees or buildings. At these heights, its woody stems can become several inches thick. The vine Thrives in sun and moisture but is very tolerant of shade as well as drier conditions. It inhabits a variety of locations from woods, valleys, and ravines to rocky bluffs, and hillsides.

Virginia creeper climbs using tendrils with sucker disks at their ends and arial roots which are Bright orange-brown in colour. The leaves are palmately compound with 5 leaflets; shinny above and paler underneath with serrated margins. The vine is often confused with poison ivy which has 3 leaflets. Greenish White flowers appear in late spring to early summer, but are hidden and insignificant. Vibrant dark blue fruit compliment the red to purple or crimson leaf colour in the fall. The very best fall leaf colour occurs when planted in sunny locations.

Virginia creeper provides habitat and shelter for numerous birds, toads and insects. It also attracts bees and other insects with its pollen. The fruit provides food for birds, skunks, chipmunks, and other animals, but is highly poisonous to humans and may be fatal if ingested. The plant has, however, been used medicinally to treat headaches, jaundice, bunions, rheumatism, respiratory problems, and rashes.

In terms of planting, Virginia creeper is well suited as a climbing vine for fences or vertical gardens. Its toleration of pollution, salt, and a variety of conditions make the vine a good choice for urban or naturalized plantings. Care should be taken to ensure the vine has adequate room to spread or receives regular pruning to control growth.

References

Canadian Wildlife Federation. (n.d.). Virginia Creeper. Retrieved from https://cwf-fcf.org/en/resources/encyclopedias/flora/virginia-creeper.html

Missouri Botanical Garden. (n.d.). Parthenocissus quinquefolia. Retrieved from http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=l490

NC state Extension. (n.d.). Parthenocissus quinquefolia. Retrieved from https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/parthenocissus-quinquefolia/

Virginia Tech Dendrology. (n.d.). Virginia creeper. Retrieved from http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=126