Parthenocissus quinquefolia


Common Names: Virginia creeper, Victoria creeper, five-leaved ivy, five-finger, woodbine
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Grape family


A prolific climber, reaching heights of 20 to 30 m in the wild. It climbs smooth surfaces using small forked tendrils tipped with small strongly adhesive pads 5 mm in size. The leaves are palmately compound, composed of five leaflets (rarely three leaflets, particularly on younger vines, and sometimes seven) joined from a central point on the leafstalk, and range from 3 to 20 cm (rarely to 30 cm) across. The leaflets have a toothed margin. The species is often confused with P. vitacea or "False Virginia creeper", which has the same leaves, but does not have the adhesive pads at the end of its tendrils. It is sometimes mistaken for Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy), despite having five leaflets (poison ivy has three). While the leaves of P. quinquefolia do not produce urushiol, the sap within the leaves and stem contains raphides (needle-shaped crystals of calcium oxalate) which can puncture the skin causing irritation and blisters in sensitive people. The leaves sometimes turn a decorative bright red in the fall. The flowers are small and greenish, produced in inconspicuous clusters in late spring, and mature in late summer or early fall into small hard purplish-black berries 5 to 7 mm diameter.

It is frequently seen covering telephone poles or trees. Commonly found growing in waste areas, roadsides, meadows, and edges of forests.

Primary Flower Color: Green
Secondary Flower Color: Green
 
Edible Notes: The berries contain oxalic acid, which is poisonous to humans and other mammals, and may be fatal if eaten. However, accidental poisoning is uncommon, likely because of the bad taste of the berries. Despite being poisonous to mammals, they provide an important winter food source for birds. Oxalate crystals are also contained in the sap, and can cause irritation and skin rash.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.
Sightings