Woodbine – The Other Virginia Creeper
From Steve Young: Until the last few years, whenever I saw Virginia creeper-looking leaves I always called it Parthenocissus quinquefolia. Looking through the grape family keys one day I realized that there are actually two common species of Parthenocissus, P. quinquefolia and P. vitacea, also known as woodbine. Woodbine has an inflorescence branching pattern that repeatedly divides equally and the leaves seem larger and more shiny. They also do not have pads on the ends of the tendrils and usually twine up through shrubs. How common is woodbine compared to Virginia creeper and how consistent are these characters? Karin Verschoor from the Division of Lands and Forests in DEC has been studying the differences between the two plants and will write about them in a future issue of the NYFA newsletter. Below are photos of the inflorescence and leaves of woodbine seen climbing through shrubs along the Mohawk bike trail in Niskayuna, NY. See if you can find both species.