Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus)


Five-Finger, Five-leafed Ivy and Woodbine
VirginiaCreeperVirginia Creeper

The name “Virginia creeper”, referring to one of its native locations, is also used for the whole genusParthenocissus, and for other species within the genus. The name Parthenocissus is from the Greek literally meaning “virgin ivy”, and may derive from the common English name of this species. It is not closely related to the true ivy, Hedera. The specific epithet quinquefolia means “five-leaved”, referring to the leaflets on each compound (palmate) leaf.

This plant is also known in North America as woodbine, although woodbine can refer to other plant species.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia, known as Virginia creeper, five-leaved ivy, or five-finger, is a species of flowering plant in the vine family Vitaceae, native to eastern and central North America, in southeastern Canada, the eastern and central United States, eastern Mexico, and Guatemala, west as far as Manitoba, South Dakota, Utah and Texas.

Virginia-Creeper-on-WallVirginia Creeper Climbing on Wall

The leaves are palmately compound, composed of five leaflets (rarely three leaflets, particularly on younger vines) joined from a central point on the leafstalk, and range from 3 to 20 cm (rarely 30 cm) across. The leaflets have a toothed margin. The species is often confused with Parthenocissus vitacea, which has the same leaves, but does not have the adhesive pads at the end of its tendrils.

The leaf structure of Virginia creeper is also superficially similar to that of Cannabis sativa, with the effect that persons familiar with only the plants’ leaf structures and not with their stem structures (which are markedly different) often mistake Virginia creeper for “ditch weed” (wild marijuana).

Virginia-Creeper-Displaying-Fall-ColorVirginia Creeper in Fall Colors

The leaves turn a bright red in the fall (autumn). The flowers are small and greenish, produced in inconspicuous clusters in late spring, and mature in late summer or early fall into small hard purplish-black berries 5 to 7 mm diameter.

Toxic Principle:
Oxalic acid
Poisoning Symptoms include:
It is commonly misidentified as Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy) due to its similar ability to climb upon structures. Like poison ivy, Virginia creeper can cause skin irritations or painful rashes. The berries contain oxalic acid, which is moderately toxic to humans and other mammals. The berries provide an important winter food source for birds.


 Lone Star English Setter Club provides this information
as a partial reference of the potential poisons that could harm your dog.
We are not veterinarian’s and DO NOT provide medical help.

 If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance,
contact your local veterinarian or
the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poisoning hotline directly