Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L ) Planch.—Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus vitacea (Knerr) Hitchc.—Virginia creeper
FAMILY: Vitaceae - the Grape Family
This family consists of woody vines climbing by tendrils; flowers: 4- or 5-merous; ovary: superior, 2-6 celled, surrounded by a glandular disk; fruit: a berry.
PHENOLOGY: Both species of Virginia creeper flower in June.
DISTRIBUTION: Virginia creeper is distributed on moist soil throughout northeastern United States.
PLANT CHARACTERISTICS: The vines can be recognized by the alternate leaf arrangement; leaves: palmately compound with 51eaflets; fruit: a black berry.
POISONOUS PARTS: The berries are suspected to be toxic.
SYMPTOMS: The toxicology of this genus is not well studied although poisoning and death in humans has been suggested in the literature. Possible symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and a feeling that bladder or intestinal discharge should occur.
POISONOUS PRINCIPLES: The toxic principles are unknown.
CONFUSED TAXA: The two species may be distinguished by the numerous adhesive disks on the many-branched tendrils of P. quinquefolia. The occurrence of adhesive disks on the few branched tendrils of P .vitacea is rare. Boston or Japanese ivy, P. tricuspidata (Siebold & Zucc ) Planch., a cultivated vine grown around dwellings, has simple, glossy, 3-lobed or 3-parted leaves. Poison ivy (see Rhus radicars) has compound leaves with 3 leaflets and is often confused with Virginia creeper.
SPECIES OF ANIMALS AFFECTED: The berries have been implicated in the death of children. In one feeding study, twelve berries were deadly to a guinea pig.
TREATMENT: ( 11a)(b); (26)