Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Virginia Creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
(par-then-oh-KISS-us) (kwin-kway-FOH-lee-uh)
Vitaceae (vee-TAY-see-ay)

Yesterday I brought my camera to work and I was determined to take a picture of something I had never seen before. After walking around for a bit I found it. Virginia Creeper flowers! The flowers are really small and horticultural insignificant but I found when studying them up close they were an interesting color and the arrangement of the buds and flowers was also interesting. This is a plant that I usually let grow here and there in the garden. I never let it crawl on other plants. I do like the fall color, which is amazing, and the berries. The vine uses tendrils to crawl on things so I will let it climb over a fence or stonewall. The berries are poisonous and some people can also suffer an allergic reaction to the foliage. The birds can seem to eat the berries without any harm. I always thought that since this plant is often confused with Poison Ivy that people that got a rash had actually handled P.I. After doing some further reading on the subject I don’t think this the case and the Virginia Creeper is actually the culprit. I have handled it many times with no reaction but I will be careful in the future as sensitivities can change.

Many people consider this an invasive weed and I tend to agree with that somewhat but like I said I do let it stay here and there. It is an extremely hardy vine that can grow 20 to 30 feet in one season. I am not recommending this plant (especially to warmer climate gardeners) I just tolerate a little bit of it. There are a few variegated cultivars available.


RUTH said...

I've never noticed flowers on a Virginia Creeper. What a great photo.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Ruth, thanks. The flowers are really small and easily missed if you don't look closely.