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Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

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Encyclopedia
Virginia creeper, five-leaved ivy, or five-finger (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a woody vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

 native to eastern and central North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, in southeastern Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the eastern and central United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, eastern Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, and Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, west as far as Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

, South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

, Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 and Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

.

Growth


It is a prolific climber, reaching heights of 20 to 30 m in the wild. It climbs smooth surfaces using small forked tendril
Tendril
In botany, a tendril is a specialized stem, leaf or petiole with a threadlike shape that is used by climbing plants for support, attachment and cellular invasion by parasitic plants, generally by twining around suitable hosts. They do not have a lamina or blade, but they can photosynthesize...

s tipped with small strongly adhesive pads 5 mm in size. The leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 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
Parthenocissus vitacea
Parthenocissus vitacea , also known as Thicket Creeper, False Virginia Creeper, Woodbine, or Grape Woodbine, is a woody vine native to North America, in southeastern Canada and a large area of the United States, from Maine west to Montana and south to New Jersey and Missouri in the east, and Texas...

, which has the same leaves, but does not have the adhesive pads at the end of its tendrils.

Characteristics


The flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s are small and greenish, produced in clusters in late spring, and mature in late summer or early fall into small hard purplish-black berries 5 to 7 mm diameter. These berries contain oxalic acid
Oxalic acid
Oxalic acid is an organic compound with the formula H2C2O4. This colourless solid is a dicarboxylic acid. In terms of acid strength, it is about 3,000 times stronger than acetic acid. Oxalic acid is a reducing agent and its conjugate base, known as oxalate , is a chelating agent for metal cations...

, which is only moderately toxic to humans and other mammals. The berries provide an important winter food source for bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s.

Cultivation and uses


Virginia creeper is grown as an ornamental plant
Ornamental plant
Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as house plants, for cut flowers and specimen display...

, because of its deep red to burgundy
Burgundy (color)
Burgundy is a shade of purplish red associated with the Burgundy wine of the same name, which in turn is named after the Burgundy region of France. The color burgundy is similar to other shades of dark red such as maroon...

 fall foliage. It is frequently seen covering telephone poles or trees. The creeper may kill vegetation it covers by shading its support and thus limiting the supporting plants' ability to photosynthesize
Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is a chemical process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis occurs in plants, algae, and many species of bacteria, but not in archaea. Photosynthetic organisms are called photoautotrophs, since they can...

.

Virginia creeper can be used as a shading vine for buildings on masonry
Masonry
Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

 walls. Because the vine, like its relative Boston ivy, adheres to the surface by disks rather than penetrating roots, it will not harm the masonry but will keep a building cooler by shading the wall surface during the summer, saving money on air conditioning. As with ivy, trying to rip the plant from the wall will damage the surface; but if the plant is first killed, such as by severing the vine from the root, the adhesive pads will eventually deteriorate and release their grip
Grip
Grip may refer to:* Handle , a part of, or attachment to, an object, allowing it to be moved or used by hand* Grip strength, a measure of hand strength* Grippers, exercise machines used to increase hand strength- In sports :...

.

Native Americans used the plant as an herbal remedy for diarrhea
Diarrhea
Diarrhea , also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements per day. It is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause dehydration and...

, difficult urination, swelling, and lockjaw
Trismus
-Common causes:*Pericoronitis is the most common cause of trismus.*Inflammation of muscles of mastication. It is a frequent sequel to surgical removal of mandibular third molars . The condition is usually resolved on its own in 10–14 days, during which time eating and oral hygiene are compromised...

.

Also known as "Engelmann
George Engelmann
George Engelmann, also known as Georg Engelmann, was a German-American botanist. He was instrumental in describing the flora of the west of North America, then very poorly-known; he was particularly active in the Rocky Mountains and northern Mexico.-Origins:George Engelmann was born in Frankfurt...

's Ivy" in Canada.

See also

  • Parthenocissus henryana
    Parthenocissus henryana
    Parthenocissus henryana is related to the grape family and the most colourful of all Virginia creepers. It was named for the Irish botanist and plant collector Augustine Henry who discovered the species on his tour in Central China in the 1880s. It was introduced in Great Britain by Ernest Henry...

    , Chinese Virginia creeper, also five leaved, dark green and silvery.
  • Parthenocissus vitacea
    Parthenocissus vitacea
    Parthenocissus vitacea , also known as Thicket Creeper, False Virginia Creeper, Woodbine, or Grape Woodbine, is a woody vine native to North America, in southeastern Canada and a large area of the United States, from Maine west to Montana and south to New Jersey and Missouri in the east, and Texas...

    , False Virginia Creeper, Thicket Creeper, etc, a very similar and closely related vine.
  • Ivy
    Ivy
    Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

  • The Virginia Creeper, a mountain railroad

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