In my most recent post, I highlighted the vine, Trumpet Creeper. In this post, I’m introducing Virginia Creeper. These vines creep all over things, other plants, poles, trellisses, and in the case of Virginia Creeper, they can climb a brick wall and cover a whole building.
Virginia creeper, climbing the brick wall on the south side f the Tucker Hall greenhouse
Parthenocissus quinquefolia, commonly known as Virginia Creeper, is a deciduous, woody vine found in the Vitaceae or Grape family. Many people mistakenly identify this plant as poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), or even poison oak. Poison ivy has compound leaves with three leaflets, but Virginia creeper has palmately compound leaves with five leaflets, hence the species name quinguefolia. Poison oak (Toxicodendron pubescens) largely occurs in southern Missouri.
Virginia creeper is native to the central and eastern United States. It is a climbing vine and can climb up trees or brick buildings as high as 20-30 meters. It has forked tendrils allowing it to climb easily, and adhesive pads, sort of like Velcro which allows the vine to stay attached to whatever it climbs.
Virginia creeper has incredibly beautiful fall color of bright orange and very bright reds. There is a large vine of Virginia creeper growing up a brick wall on the south side of the Tucker greenhouse, and it is just now beginning to bloom. The blooms are greenish and quite small, but they produce a purple berry in the fall that provides a great winter food source for Bluebirds, Cardinals, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, and even Wild Turkeys. For humans, these berries are poisonous, so don’t try making jam or jelly with these berries.
Virginia creeper inflorescence about to flower