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Parthenocissus quinquefolia - (L.)Planch.

Common Name Virginia Creeper, Woodbine
Family Vitaceae
USDA hardiness 3-10
Known Hazards Skin contact with the leaves in autumn can cause dermatitis in some people[222]. The tissues of the plant contain microscopic, irritating needle-like crystals called raphides[274]. Some evidence suggests the berries are poisonous [301].
Habitats Woods and rocky banks[43].
Range Eastern N. America - Quebec to Florida and Mexico. A garden escape in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia Creeper, Woodbine

Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia Creeper, Woodbine


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Bloom Color: Green. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Spreading or horizontal, Variable height, Variable spread.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Parthenocissus quinquefolia is a deciduous Climber growing to 30 m (98ft 5in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Ampelopsis hederacea. Hedera quinquefolia. Vitis hederacea. V. quinquefolia.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; East Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Root  Stem
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw[105, 161]. The fruit is not very well flavoured, nor is it produced very freely[K]. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter[200] and is carried in small bunches like grapes[K]. Stalks - cooked. They should be peeled and then boiled[105, 161]. The stalks are cut, boiled and peeled, and the sweetish substance between the bark and the wood is used for food[257]. Root - cooked[257].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Alterative  Astringent  Diuretic  Expectorant  Tonic

The bark and fresh young shoots are aperient, alterative, emetic, expectorant and tonic[46, 61]. A hot decoction can be used as a poultice to help reduce swellings[257]. A tea made from the leaves is aperient, astringent and diuretic[222]. It is used as a wash on swellings and poison ivy rash[222, 257]. A tea made from the plant is used in the treatment of jaundice[222, 257]. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea and diarrhoea[222, 257]. The fruit is useful in treating fevers[4]. Some evidence suggests the berries (due to oxalic acid content)are poisonous [301].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


A pink dye is obtained from the fruit[46, 61, 257]. The plant can be allowed to fall down banks and make a spreading ground cover[202]. They are best spaced about 3 metres apart each way[208]. They are very vigorous, however, and would soon swamp smaller plants[K].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground cover

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Arbor, Woodland garden. Requires a well-drained moisture retentive fertile soil[200]. Succeeds in most soils, preferring full sun but tolerating semi-shade[202]. Best if grown in semi-shade on an east or west facing wall[200]. Tolerates atmospheric pollution[4]. Dormant plants are hardy to about -25°c[200], though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant[1], it is self-supporting on walls by means of adhesive tendrils[11, 182]. Very fast growing, though it often does not grow very much in its first year or two after planting out[202]. When established, it can send out new growth 6 metres long in a year[4]. The plant can, however, become a nuisance by climbing into gutters[182]. Plants are very tolerant of trimming and can be cut right back to the base if required to rejuvenate the plant[202]. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring[219]. The fruit is normally only produced after a long hot summer[219]. There are several named varieties[182]. Special Features:Attracts birds, North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[200]. Stored seed requires stratifying for 6 weeks at 5°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible[200]. Germination is variable. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm taken at a node (ensure that it has at least 2 true buds), July/August in a frame[78]. Easy to root but they do not always survive the first winter[182]. Basal hardwood cuttings of current seasons growth, 10 - 12 cm long, autumn in a frame[200]. Layering[200]. Plants often self-layer[202].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Parthenocissus himalayana Climber18.0 8-11 FLMHSNM202
Parthenocissus tricuspidataBoston Ivy, Japanese Ivy, Japanese CreeperClimber18.0 4-8 FLMHSNM103

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

John Pirog   Wed Jul 14 20:38:17 2004

Several other sites on the web state that the berries of Parthenocissus quinquefolia are poisonous. I would be cautious about using them as a food source, as the two references in this page recommend.

swapan gandhi   Fri Mar 25 17:20:07 2005

Ive drunk the sap of the vine before with no ill effects. There is a substance in the bark wich when chewed makes your mouth and toung tingle. (it may be small ammounts of Calcium oxalate crystals). Both the Bark and the young shoots contain substantial ammounts of mucilage. Young shoots also contain an acidic substance. As the wood is verry soft and pulpy it is a good source of fibre for paper production.

chris daugherty   Tue Mar 14 2006

I have also seen in other manuals that the fruits are toxic and can be fatal if eaten in large enough amounts.

Kati   Mon Jul 17 2006

This is a highly dangerous toxic plant that shouldn't be planted anywhere. You might not be sensitive to it but you have no way of knowing, who of your family of friends will get a reaction. I will try to get rid of mine in my backyard, it is growing there as a weed in my pachysandra. I will try the vinegar trick. I'm currently suffering from the itchy and blistery, oozing effects of accidentally getting in contact with it. I strongly recommend to try to kill it if you have it.

   Apr 3 2012 12:00AM

A professor of mine once mistakenly chewed on the fruits on this liana and had a numb mouth for days. Use caution.

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