Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia creeper Vitaceae PAQU; Bx, bg, br, bz, cf, cm, ht, pb, rd, sf, up, vc, wv; NY, bl, ct, hb, iw, rr, tr; Q, a, cu, f, fr, ft, j, rw, tl, u, vb; K, fl, fs, m, ow, pl, wl; R, ah, ar, bk, bm, c, ca, cg, cl, cs, d, e, ev, fk, gb, gr, h, hs, jl, lp, mc, mls, pm, pr, ro, se, sm, sv, t, ty, w;

Parthenocissus quinquefolia.flowers

Parthenocissus quinquefolia with flower buds. M. Gargiullo (ca. 2005).

Parthenocissus quinquefolia is a woody vine, bark gray, rough, with conspicuous warty lenticels; tendrils opposite leaves, much-branched, branches disk tipped for adhering to bark or other surfaces. 

Leaves alternate, long-stalked, blade palmately compound, leaflets 5, stalks none to 1.5 cm long, blades, 6-12 cm long, elliptic to widest above middle, tip pointed, base wedge-shaped, dull green above, paler below, margin sharply toothed above middle; leaves appear as forest canopy closes, adapted to both shade and open habitats, often a ground cover in closed canopy where light saturated photosynthetic rates are much lower than that of leaves in full sun (Taylor and Pearcy 1976); leaves live up to 25 weeks (Hicks and Chabot 1985). 

Flowers dull white, tiny, 5-parted; inflorescence branched, longer than wide, with a central axis; axis zigzagged, flowers in umbrella-shaped clusters at ends of branches; June-July. 

Parthenocissus.quinquefolia.fruit

Parthenocissus.quinquefolia.fruit.M. B. Gargiullo ca. 2005

Fruit fleshy, dark blue with bloom, 0.6 cm, fruit stems often red, Sept.-Oct. Persistent into winter; 1-4 seeded. Seed load 30%. Pulp nutrients: water 73%, lipid 16%, protein 8%, CHO 19% (White 1989). Fruit eaten, seeds dispersed, by songbirds & mammals, including raccoons and skunks (Wilson 1993). 

Wetland status: FACU. 

Frequency in NYC: Very common. 

Origin: Native. 

Parthenocissus quinquefolia.Arthur Haines.New England Wild Flower Society.montshire.newenglandwild.org

Parthenocissus quinquefolia.tendril.Arthur Haines.New England Wild Flower Society.montshire.newenglandwild.org (Accessed 5/2014).

Habitat: Moist to dry soil in open and disturbed areas, woodlands, vinelands, also found on sandy soil of back dune shrublands. Very shade tolerant, often a ground cover in woodlands. Tolerates soil pH 3.8-7.5 (Greller et al. 1990; Hightshoe 1988). In NYC found in soils with pH 4.8-7.0 (Gargiullo unpublished data). 

Notes: Foliage eaten by rabbits (Martin et al. 1951). Dispersal to and establishment in new sites in successional forest, contiguous to old regrowth stands has been calculated at a rate of 1.82 m/yr (Matlack 1994)..