Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia Creeper

Botanical description: This native creeper has become fairly commonplace in urban vacant lots and is evocative of a romanticism of ivy covered buildings. Parthenocissus quinquefolia is a remarkable climber found growing on sunny walls, semi-shady edges, woodlands, telephone poles and unmown areas. Growing up to fifteen feet in a season after establishment, the vine can reach one hundred feet in length at maturity. With incredible adhesive pads, the virginia creeper has the ability to climb most surfaces and cover large areas quickly without damaging the surface. Five coarsely toothed radial leaflets are dotted with small clusters of greenish white flowers in late spring, purplish-black berries in the summer and in the autumn, the leaflets turn hues of deep scarlet, maroon and orange. Parthenocissus quinqueofolia is a very effective habitat provider and attracts a host of wildlife. Its thick foliage and berries are eaten by several caterpillars, beetles, birds and mammals such as skunks, chipmunks, squirrels, deer and fox. Several species of Sphinx moths lay their larvae exclusively in the plant. Many vines have a tendency to smother, and virginia creeper is no different, often considered a nuisance for its profusion.