Weeds of Wednesday: Virginia Creep-er

Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, Vine, Wildlife plant

Is it redder this year? Is the increased coloration due to our cooler temperatures? To increased exposure to wind due to Hurricane Irma?

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is native vine that folks either love or hate. Though it leaves are held in groups of 5, as its species name quinquefolia indicates (think quintuplets), this vine sometimes gets confused with poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) when a person “sees” only 3 leaves. 3 Leaves: Let it Be is an adage that many us were taught as children since poison ivy holds its leaves in groups of 3.

In the photo above, you can see that some of the leaves of the Virginia creeper are “missing”, so that it appears that the leaves are held in groups of 2 or 4. The photo was taken from Oslo Road just south of the east entrance to the South Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, and below you can see how the Virginia creeper was growing in the midst of live oak (Quercus virginiana) and cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto).

Virginiana creeper is an aggressive, fast-growing vine that can, in some sunny situations, overtake other plants …

Yes, there is a small oak tree under the Virginia creeper pictured above at the Enchanted Forest in Titusville, where we visited on on one of class field trips.

However, if you were a hungry bird or small mammal, you could love Virginia creeper for its copious blue-black fruits in the late summer and fall …

Flowering occurs in the spring and early summer …

Is it a weed to not? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder …