Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Parthenocissus quinquefolia, or Virginia creeper, growing up along the boardwalk rail on the Jersey shore.

Chances are you have noticed Virginia creeper these days. It is a climbing vine and while it's inconspicuous growing along the trunk of a tree in the summertime, it's hard to miss right now, as the leaves are turning a brilliant crimson red.

It's fruit are also maturing and will soon be eaten up by birds. The fruit on this native vine are high in oxalic acid and can be fatal to mammals. It's apparently also awful-tasting, so deaths by Virginia creeper are fairly rare.

Parthenocissus is literally Greek for virgin ivy. 'Parthenos' means 'virgin' and the Greek work for ivy is 'kissos.'

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