Virginia Creeper - Parthenocissus quinquefolia
The Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) refers to the five fingers or the five leaved ivies. It is a flowering plant from the grape family. It is commonly used as an ornamental plant due to its ability to cover many surfaces relatively quickly. The Virginia creeper is deciduous, which means it sheds its leaves annually. It is a prolific climber and climbs to 66 to 98 feet when left undisturbed in the wild. The Virginia creeper has strongly adhesive pads at the tip of its tiny fork-tipped tendrils that help it climb and adhere to smooth surfaces. The Virginia creeper leaves are typically 1 to 8 inches in width, and they are produced in five-leaf leaflets that emerge from a central stalk. Sometimes the Virginia creeper can be mistaken for the poison ivy; it is essential to remember that though they have the same coloring, the creeper has five leaves, and the poison ivy has three.
There is a sentence to remember when hiking in nature "leaves of three; let it be." Sometimes the leaves of the creeper will turn a vibrant red, yellow, or orange during the fall. The flowers of the Virginia creeper are produced in clusters and are small and greenish. The flowers produce dark purple berries that are nearly black in the late summer and early fall. The berries provide a source of winter food for birds but can cause kidney damage in humans and should not be consumed. When using this plant for landscape, it is essential to remember that it can choke out other plants and limit their light source because of its climbing nature and its spreading leaves. Creeper is commonly seen covering houses, light poles, and stone garden walls.