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Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Phonetic Spelling
par-then-oh-SIS-us kwin-ke-FOH-lee-ah
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Virginia creeper or woodbine is a deciduous, woody vine Vitaceae (grape) family. It is native to eastern and central North America south to Mexico found growing in ravines, valleys, rich woods, thickets, rocky bluffs, hillsides, and fencerows. In North Carolina, it can be found naturally in swampy forests, maritime forests, and thickets. The genus name Parthenocissus is derived from the Greek word parthenos which means virgin and kissos which means ivy.  The species name quinquefolia means five leaves and refers to the five palmate leaflets.

This vigorous tendril-climbing vine will rapidly grow to 30 to 50 feet long or more. It needs no support because it clings to surfaces by adhesive holdfasts (also called sucker disks) located at the tendril ends. It also will creep along the ground as suggested by the common name.  The mature bark is gray-brown and aerial roots appear along its surface.  When rapidly growing, the aerial roots are bright orange-brown.

Grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. While it will tolerate full shade, the best red fall color generally occurs in sunny locations. This is an easy-to-grow plant with good tolerance for a wide range of soils.

Nectar from the insignificant flowers attracts bees and the blue fleshy fruits are enjoyed by songbirds and small mammals.   Virginia creeper is pollution and salt tolerant and moderately resistant to deer damage, heat, drought, and soil compaction. They may be planted near black walnut trees.  It often needs little care but must be trimmed regularly to keep it in bounds. 

This rapidly growing vine should be sited in areas where it will have room to expand and grow. Do not place near wood or shingle walls because the holdfasts are difficult to remove and it can ruin painted surfaces. If unchecked, vines can also attach to and seriously damage such objects as gutters, shutters, or wiring around homes and buildings.  Use in vertical spaces as a screen, or planted on a sturdy trellis.  Or let it run free over the ground in sloped areas to assist with erosion management.  

Fire Risk: This plant has an extreme flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home.  Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home. 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems but watch for beetles, scale, and leafhoppers.  Mildews, leaf spots, canker, and wilt are occasional problems for this plant.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Back of House Planting Native/ Woodland Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Monham'
    Commonly sold as STAR SHOWERS, "paint splatter" white markings on green leaves.
  • 'Muroru'
  • 'Troki'
    Commonly called RED WALL, producing bronze foliage in spring, green through summer, red in fall.
'Monham', 'Muroru', 'Troki'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#woody#spring flowers#apvg#fall interest#erosion control#showy fruits#moist soil#food source wildlife#cpp#fire extreme flammability#NC native#well-drained soil#vines#summer flowers#deer resistant#woody vine#native garden#groundcover#summer interest#deciduous vine#self-seeding#spring interest#native vine#pollinator plant#compaction tolerant#flowers mid-summer#food source summer#vertical spaces#food source nectar#food source pollen#flowering vine#wet soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#fall color red#vine#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#partial shade tolerant#apvg-vg#bee friendly#black walnut toxicity tolerant#Audubon#heavy shade tolerant#woodland garden#coastal plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Monham'
    Commonly sold as STAR SHOWERS, "paint splatter" white markings on green leaves.
  • 'Muroru'
  • 'Troki'
    Commonly called RED WALL, producing bronze foliage in spring, green through summer, red in fall.
'Monham', 'Muroru', 'Troki'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#woody#spring flowers#apvg#fall interest#erosion control#showy fruits#moist soil#food source wildlife#cpp#fire extreme flammability#NC native#well-drained soil#vines#summer flowers#deer resistant#woody vine#native garden#groundcover#summer interest#deciduous vine#self-seeding#spring interest#native vine#pollinator plant#compaction tolerant#flowers mid-summer#food source summer#vertical spaces#food source nectar#food source pollen#flowering vine#wet soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#fall color red#vine#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#partial shade tolerant#apvg-vg#bee friendly#black walnut toxicity tolerant#Audubon#heavy shade tolerant#woodland garden#coastal plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Parthenocissus
    Species:
    quinquefolia
    Family:
    Vitaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada and United States to Mexico, North Carolina
    Distribution:
    throughout eastern and central North America south to Mexico
    Fire Risk Rating:
    extreme flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Its fruits are eaten by songbirds, squirrels, opossum, raccoons, and other mammals. Bees and other pollinators enjoy the nectar from the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Edibility:
    toxic berries
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Creeping
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    In North Carolina, fruits are available from July to August. Blue-black berries (to 3/8” diameter) are hidden by the foliage and are often not visible until autumn leaf drop
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Greenish white flowers appear in late spring to early summer on the upper leaf axils of the Virginia creeper, but are generally hidden by the foliage and are ornamentally insignificant. In North Carolina, flowers are available from May to July.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The Virginia creeper has alternate, compound-palmate leaves (usually 5 saw-toothed leaflets, each leaflet to 6” long) that emerge purplish in spring, mature to dull green in summer and change to attractive shades of purple and crimson red in fall. Virginia Creeper is somewhat similar to Poison Ivy; the children's rhyme "leaves of three, let it be; leaves of five, let it thrive" helps to distinguish the two.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Bark Description:
    Gray-brown with aerial roots and tendrils
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Compaction
    Deer
    Drought
    Erosion
    Heat
    Heavy Shade
    Pollution
    Salt
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Messy
    Poisonous to Humans
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    May be fatal if fruit is eaten. Can result in nausea, abdominal pain, bloody vomiting, and diarrhea, dilated pupils, headache, sweating, weak pulse, drowsiness, twitching of the face.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Oxalic acid and possibly others
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits