Virginia Creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Copyright, Mark Brand

Virginia Creeper is a climbing vine, which can grow up to 50 feet. It is identified by its leaves, which have five leaflets.

Leaves are green, but are tinted with red when they first grow. In the Fall, all the leaves turn deep red. Leaflets are three to seven inches long, and up to two inches wide.

This plant is often confused with Poison Ivy, which it frequently grows alongside of. Poison Ivy has only three leaflets, and its leaves have only a few teeth, or not teeth at all. Virginia Creeper always has teeth on its leaves.

Virginia Creeper can not only grow as a vine up tree trunks and walls, but it can stand alone. It will send out runners along the ground, and quickly cover the area.

Virginia Creeper is very fast growing. It can choke a tree or shrub if not controlled.

Virginia Creeper blooms from June through August. Flowers are tiny, yellowish-green, and clustered.

Fruits are purplish-black berries, about 1/4 inch across.

Copyright, Mark Brand

Copyright, Mark Brand

Alice B. Russell

Virginia Creeper can grow just about anywhere. It grows in forests, fields, gardens, and along banks of streams or lakes. It can grow in shade or sun.

Virginia Creeper grows up tree trunks and other surfaces by grabbing on with tendrils. Tendrils are like little arms that grab. Virgnia Creeper tendrils have little adhesive pads at the end that stick to the surface.

The berries of this plant are eaten by many animals, especially birds, including: Eastern Bluebird, Northern Cardinal, chickadees, woodpeckers, and Turkey. Other animals, such as mice, skunks, chipmunks, squirrels, and deer eat them too. White-tailed Deer also munch on the leaves and stems.

Virginia Creeper berries are poisonous to humans.

Many moth caterpillars, such as the Giant Leopard Moth, eat the leaves.

Because of its thick foliage (leaves), this plant is great cover for small animals.

Virginia Creeper will grow up just about any pine tree or hardwood tree, such as oaks and hickories. It will also grow over most shrubs. This species will become a parasite, and often slowly kill the host it grows on.

New Virginia Creeper colonies begin when animals poop out the seeds in a new place after eating the fruit.

Besides caterpillars, this vine has other pests, including scale insects and leafhoppers.

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants


Eastern Bluebird

Carolina Chickadee

Black Oak

Northern Cardinal D

Northern Cardinal

Meadow Vole

Virginia Pine

Eastern Gray Squirrel D

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Eastern Chipmunk

Mockernut Hickory

Pileated Woodpecker D

Striped Skunk

Eastern Gray Squirrel

American Sycamore

Common Crow D

Eastern Chipmunk

White-footed Mouse


American Robin D

White-tailed Deer

Horned Fungus Beetle

American Elm

Dodder Pa

Carolina Chickadee

Patent-leather Beetle

Eastern White Pine

Northern Mockingbird D

Downy Woodpecker

Wood Frog

Yellow Poplar

White-breasted Nuthatch D

Pileated Woodpecker

American Dog Tick

American Beech

Great Crested Flycatcher D

Giant Leopard Moth

Red-backed Salamander

White Oak

Eastern Bluebird D

White-footed Mouse

Leopard Slug

Poison Ivy

Gray Catbird

Wild Turkey

Witch Hazel

Common Crow

Five-lined Skink


Great Crested Flycatcher

Rabid Wolf Spider

Red Maple

Northern Mockingbird

American Toad

Trumpet Creeper

American Robin

Goldenrod Spider

Wild Grape

Red Fox

Common Black Ground Beetle


Eastern Cottontail

Eastern Newt

Spotted Jewelweed

Tufted Titmouse

Daring Jumping Spider

Evergreen Blackberry

European Starling

Polyphemus Moth

Virginia Rose

Relationship to Humans:

This plant is grown as an ornamental and ground cover plant by many people. It is especially valued as a ground cover since it will grow easily in shade, where most other plants won't grow.

Virginia Creeper can quickly become a pest, though, if it spreads. It can crowd out or choke other plants.

The fruit of this plant is poisonous to humans and should not be eaten.

Leaves of Virginia Creeprer have been used to make medicines.

People should be careful when they see Virginia Creeper, because there may be Poison Ivy around also. The two plants almost always grow together.


Parthenocissus quinquefolia


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