Often inseparable means hard to identify…

Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) Two of a kind, both invasive ivies found in gardens and woodlands. Poison Ivy is a bedfellow to any plants in a garden bed; but it is frequently found partnering with Virginia Creeper. The leaves are distinct. The Virginia Creeper has five leaves, each edged with many continuous teeth. Poison Ivy has the tell-tale leaves of three which have few teeth.

Their colorings and leaf sizes are very similar, so first impressions often fail to recognize these dual characters in a groundcover or ivy covered trunk. Often their difference is discovered only after passing through, when Poison Ivy’s irritating personality is revealed.

Two very different ivies copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Two very different ivies copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

“Parthenocissus” literally means “virgin ivy”. Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy together is another example that so often in life the innocent and the not-so innocent are intertwined.

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