Virginia Creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Vitaceae (grapes)

A climbing vine with tendrils and aerial roots to 75 feet high.

Leaves alternate, palmately compound (leaflets arise from a single point), with 5 leaflets (rarely 7; or 3 on new growth); leaflets 2–6 inches long with pointed tips and margins coarsely toothed.

Stems reddish-brown, finely hairy; tendrils many-branched, 1½–2 inches long, ending in sucker disks. Older stems, when climbing, develop coarse aerial roots used to attach to tree trunks, walls of buildings, and so on.

Flowering is in late May to August. Clusters arise opposite the leaves near the end of short stems of the season. Clusters are 1½–5 inches long and contain 2–200 flowers. Flowers are greenish, with 5 petals and with 5 stamens that extend beyond the flower.

Fruits ripen in September and October. Clusters are 3–6 inches long, with red stalks. Fruit is a dark purple berry, about 1/4 inch across, globe-shaped, slightly flattened.

A climbing vine that can grow 75 feet high.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in open and moist woods, fence rows, rocky wooded hillsides, ravines and bluffs.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Human connections: 
An excellent vine for covering fences, walls of buildings, trellises and other objects. The leaves turn a bright crimson to purple in the autumn. This species is unrelated to poison ivy; it is in the grape family.
Ecosystem connections: 
Honeybees frequent the flowers, and the fruits are eaten by many types of birds, including bobwhites. Deer browse the leaves and stems in spring and summer, and they eat the fruits in autumn. Squirrels eat the bark in winter. Wild turkeys eat the young tendrils.
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