Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Virginia Creeper

Virginia Creeper
Parthenocissus quinqefolium

My favorite vine, especially in Fall because of it's beautiful colour.

It is characterised by a palmately compound leaves composed of five leaflets, hence the latin quinqefolium - five leaves. However, younger vines may have smaller numbers. In the case of the specimen below, there are four. The leaflets are dentate (toothed edges) distinguishing this vine from poison ivy whether all five leaflets are there or not.

The Virginia Creeper produces clusters of small dark purple berries in late summer to early fall. These are not to be eaten. Although the taste should discourage you from eating more than one. The oxalic acid contained in the berries may be toxic to mammals, but these berries are a good source of food for birds during the winter months. So in addition to bringing a beautiful colour to your yard in fall, it may also attract some birds.

This woody vine is native to central and eastern North America. It grows in dense wooded areas but also along road sides and frequently up brick houses.

Take care!
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