Welcome! Today we are going to discuss Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Virginia Creeper is a native perennial woody vine native to the eastern United States and is a member of the Grape family of plants. The wetland indicator status for the vine is FACU which means which means that while the plant is usually found in uplands it may be found in freshwater wetlands on occasion.
Virginia Creeper is often confused with Poison Ivy and usually grows where Poison Ivy is found. The difference is that Virginia Creeper has five leaves and Poison Ivy has three leaves. Virginia Creeper prefers full sun but is able to thrive in moderately shaded habitat as well. The plant grows new vines from its extensive root system and attaches to surfaces like trees and fences by discs. The discs form after a tendril touches a support like a tree. The vine can grow up to sixty feet high.
Virginia Creeper flowers in late spring (usually around June). The flowers give way to green berries which turn purplish/black as summer gives way to fall.
The berries are toxic for human consumption but birds are able to eat them.
Birds that eat the berries include:
Mammals that browse on Virginia Creeper include:
Virginia Creeper is one of the first plants to change colors in the fall. The plant displays a beautiful red. It is thought that this early change lets birds know its berries are ready for eating!
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