The life cycle of the Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, is perennial. This species is a member of the Vitacceae (Grape) family. Quinquefolia is a climbing woody vine that can reach 40’ in height. Vines have tendrils with adhesive sucker disks to fasten to leaves. Leaves are compound with five elliptic shape leaflets with a pointed tip. Rarely, there are three or seven leaflets. Margins are toothed. Venation is palmate. Leaflet size 3” to 6” long and 3” to 6” wide.
Flowers grow in clusters. The flower’s corolla has five drooping petals that are a brownish color. From the center of the corolla are five stamens with yellow anthers. Projecting from the corolla’s center is a reddish ovary bearing pistil above the petals. Therefore, ovaries are superior. Inflorescence is panicle. Flower about 1/8” in diameter. Fruit are berries ¼” in diameter. Blooming occurs in spring.
Quinquefolia is distributed in almost every county in the state. Habitat is any tree growing in a hammock. It is also distributed in every State in the U.S. Quinquefolia is the only species in the Genus Parthenocissus. The specimen in the photo was taken on a tree on my street.
by Jim Rodwell