Monster Vine #5 -- Virginia Creeper So far, all of the monster vines have been alien invaders. Virginia creeper is the single most mistaken plant. Virginia creeper above and False Virginia creeper below. Now it's time to put the hurt on one of our own -- our native Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Virginia creeper is often confused with eastern poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), however; a clear distinction between the species is that eastern poison ivy has three leaflets and Virginia creeper has five leaflets. Virginia creeper and False Virginia creeper both have palmate leaves, made from five leaflets. Virginia creeper leaves are a dull green, with hairs on the underside and on the veins. Poison sumac is dioecious, so male and female flowers are found on different plants. Ideally you’ll have examples of both plants in real life to look at. The latter has smooth stalks. The PLANTS Web site at plants.usda.gov contains an image of eastern poison ivy. Poison ivy lookalike: Virginia creeper You might find a Virginia creeper ( Parthenocissus quinquefolia ) leaf with just three leaflets. The shape of the leaves looks nothing like Virginia creeper. With the former, these have hairy leaf stalks. As you look at the whole plant, you’ll see woody stems and mature leaves that are not divided. In an Ideal World. They are, however, deciduous like Virginia creeper and turn bright orange or red in the fall. The page from the “Look-Alikes” book that shows the difference between ginesng and virginia creeper leaves. Poison sumac leaves are pinnately compound, with anywhere from 7-13 leaflets. Therefore the longest chapter will focus on that one.
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