One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Recognize these?

Give us a guess in the comments, and we’ll be back to confirm!


These leaves are similar to maple leaves, but clearly maples don’t have berries. This is often called wild grape, a vine that tends to grow up trees, or grow up with trees, and flourishing their canopies. This vine is on a pine tree.

While we squirrels may appreciate the handy way the vine brings the grape fruits up to us, a vine growing a tree isn’t always good for the tree. It can overshadow the tree’s leaves and the extra weight is hard for a tree to support. Because of this, grape vines are often considered invasive, even though this is a native plant.

Now for a confession: We squirrels thought this was a native wild grape. But after consulting with Ms. Flora, we have learned it isn’t. Those pretty blue berries are the give away. They aren’t unripe grape fruits; that is what the fruits look like on a grape look-alike. (And we were caught by it, too!) This is a species native to China, Japan and other Asian countries known as Porcelain Berry, Amur Peppervine or sometimes just creeper. Ampelopsis glandulosa actually is invasive and we recommend that you do not eat them!


One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

It’s a beautiful blue berry–

–but what is it?

Leave me a guess in the comments and I’ll check back later with your answer!


We’ve posted this plant before, but not shown its fall berry. Here’s a photo clue with the leaves.

Mile-a-Minute Weed, Persicaria perfoliata, is an invasive plant that grows like the name suggests–very quickly. It also is sometimes called tearthumb or Asiatic Tearthumb, which is a good name with those little thorns.  A post we made a year ago in the summer contains links to learn more, but you should be wary if you see this pretty berry and its triangular leaf. And you should pull it before it looks like this:

Or this, covering your native plants like it has on our nearby golf course.

It’s sad, because under that mess were some nice blackberry bushes.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

We haven’t had a flower for a mystery lately, so here’s one!
Give your guesses in the comments and I’ll check back later with your answer!


Yay, we had a correct guess today–even though I didn’t show the flower from its most telling side. Look here:

It’s Trumpet Creeper Vine. As our faithful reader said, hummingbirds love gathering nectar from this deep tube–and we squirrels are thinking it’s likely they have little competition.

That said, Miz Flora stands firm that this is a plant you should plant on a trellis and keep contained! Remember, it’s a vine. It will travel everywhere, and those large compound do tend to cover other plants.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

Nutmeg advised you human readers to leave your flower seedbeds for the birds, but here’s a plant you should clean up.

mystery #164

Know what it is and why?

Make your guesses and I’ll return later with the answers.


Hmm, here’s a vine you humans ought to become more familiar with–because it’s terribly invasive! You’ll want to get rid of Mile-a-Minute Weed the second you see it.

Mile-a-Minute Weed

The triangular leaves and barbed stems are a great way to identify it, even if you don’t notice that the vine is growing 6 inches a day. Yes, it can take over quickly, and we squirrels beg you to keep this from happening! We like our native foods better, though some deer, chipmunks, mice and birds will eat them. Of course, that’s another way the Mile-a-Minute Weed is spreading.

Did you notice some of the leaves have holes in them? That’s because some great humans have released a weevil that eats Mile-a-Minute Weed leaves, then lays its eggs in the stems. The larvae eat the plant from the inside. Read more about Mile-a-Minute Weed and this weevil on this New York Invasive Species Information bulletin.

Poison Ivy Announcement!

Just a quick little public service announcement for you human readers! This is Poison Ivy. Don’t touch it!

Poison Ivy 2

It’s a shiny three-leaflet leaf,

Poison Ivy

reddish when they are first emerging,

Poison Ivy root hairs

growing on hairy vines.

Poison Ivy vine

Straight up from the ground, across the ground, up anything vertical.

It’s the oil on all of the plant parts–even the roots–that causes blistering on skin.

Hope this helps someone stay itch-free this summer!

Mature Poison Ivy

Hickory and I ran across this tree downed in the storm that had been cut and removed.

We noticed the base still had green leaves and on closer look, backed away—Poison Ivy.

The thick vine has clumps of the reddish root hairs we showed you before on the smaller vines. The humans did seem to know enough not to cut it and release the oils that cause the itching, but we sure high-tailed it out of there.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

It this a vine? A sticker bush? Give me a guess.


Yes, it trails like a vine, even putting out little tendrils to help it climb. But it has the protection of thorns, giving the plant the common name ‘catbriar’.

It’s a Smilax species that also goes by the name greenbriar. Miz Flora says old timers called it prickly-ivy, but I don’t hear the younger squirrels use that name there days. Bu tthse prickles do make it a pain to get rid of.