Virginia Creeper

Scientific Name:

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Type:

Vine

Habitat:

Chaparral & brush country, open woodlands, shaded woods, streamsides, riverbanks

Range:

Considered native throughout the southwest, midwest and eastern United States as well as in parts of Canada and Mexico

Status:

No listed status

This species is

NON-NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

This woody deciduous vine is often found in moist, well-drained soil, as it prefers. It can be recognized by its thick foliage and palmate leaves which typically have 5 leaflets and turn red in the fall. It has been known to climb as high as 50 feet, up trees, fences, and poles. Stems of the Virginia creeper are an orange brownish color and have fine hairs along them.

Fast Facts:

  • Virginia creeper berries are black or blue in color and are highly toxic for humans and could be fatal if consumed!

  • This plant is known to be a useful groundcover to prevent erosion and protect watersheds. It is typically grown from a cutting of an established plant.

  • The Virginia creeper is important fodder for deer and songbirds, and provides necessary cover for small mammals and birds. It is also a larvae host for many sphinx moth species. Often, small birds will build nests in the Virginia creeper. All these visitors help disperse the seeds of the plant which promotes new growth!

  • The bark has been used in domestic medicines as a tonic and as a dropsy remedy.

  • Often this plant is confused with poison ivy in the eastern United States, however, poison ivy has three leaflets in contrast with the Virginia creeper which has five.

  • Growing the Virginia creeper? Be sure to maintain it with regular pruning. This vine grows quickly and if left unchecked, it is quick to take over an area. Once established, it is extremely difficult to remove!

  • This plant is a member of the grape family!

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Bridget Mulkerin (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

June 17, 2021, 7:07:04 PM