Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia Creeper, woodbine, five-leaved ivy, American ivy

Description: deciduous vine

Place of origin: eastern North America

Urban habitat: commonly found on roadsides and along chain link fences; can grow in dry or moist conditions and can tolerate high salinity.

Ecological function: food and habitat for wildlife.

History: Although Parthenocissus quinquefolia is cultivated for its brilliant red leaves in the fall, it often escapes cultivation and is often considered to be a weed. It was exported to Europe where it has spread. It is sometimes planted for erosion control on slopes. Native American tribes consumed the plant and used its fruits to make ceremonial paint for skin and feathers. The Iriquois used it as antidote for poison sumac and for urinary aliments and the Cherokee used it to treat jaundice. A tea made from its roots has been used to treat gonorrhea and diarrhea.