Virginia Creeper, the Five Leaf Vine

Hickory and I decided it must be time to remind all you human readers what Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissis quinquefoila, looks like. Believe it or not, many, many of you trying to identify this five leaf–not three leaf–vine find your way to The Squirrel Nutwork.

Virginia Creeper new leaf color

Virginia Creeper, as the name implies, is a native plant. Because the new leaves can emerge with only three leaflets, and are also red tinged, it’s often mistaken for Poison Ivy, which we featured on our Nature’s Mysteries on April 24. That means Virginia Creeper often gets ripped up and we hate to see that happen. It does vine and can take over areas, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad plant to have around. The broad leaves make a great ground cover. Mammals, maybe a bit smaller than us, can play hide and seek in them. Actually, they might really be hiding. I know the toads Hickory surprises are.  Many moth caterpillars eat these leaves, and the berries are eaten by scads of birds, and us, too!

Just not by humans! These berries are poisonous to humans! Don’t ever think you can eat something a squirrel does.

If you’d like to test yourself to see if you can tell Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy apart, here is a Mysteries post we ran last June with many photos. Have fun!

4 thoughts on “Virginia Creeper, the Five Leaf Vine

  1. I love Virginia Creeper and how it grows in difficult places. The eight spotted forester caterpillars REALLY love it, too. I don’t mind their visits at all because they are so pretty and the vine just keeps on growing after they leave.

    • Eight spotted Forester caterpillars? I had to look that one up. This butterfly website showed us the caterpillar and the butterfly. It’s definitely in Virginia, so we will keep sharp eyes out for it!
      Thanks for pointing it out, Debra!

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