Wild Weeds – Weed of the Month
.Virginia Creeper is a vine found in rural and urban areas, climbing up trees, light poles, fences and more. It ranges from a dark brown/purple to green in the spring/summer, to a bright red/orange in the fall and winter. Virginia Creeper is often confused with Poison Ivy as the plants appear very similar, but Poison Ivy has 3 leaves while Virginia Creeper has 5 leaves. Young plants can have 3-5 leaves which contributes to the frequent incorrect identification.
The vine flowers in late spring with small, inconspicuous green flowers. Flowers mature into deep purple berries in late summer to early fall. These berries serve as a vital winter food source for birds but are toxic to humans. The oxalic acids contained in the berries cause kidney damage and even death in humans.
Virginia Creeper has a copy cat plant, appearing almost identical except one key feature. Virginia Creeper has adhesive pads at the end of some root structures that allow it to stick to almost anything. The fast growth habit and competitive features allow this plant to dominate in a multitude of situations.
Wild Weeds is a monthly spotlight written by Alicia Halbritter, Baker County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent. Wild Weeds highlights weeds you may find in Florida on the roadside, while hiking, in the forest, or possibly even in your yard. Searching for more information on a particular plant? Email Alicia at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information/questions.