The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section VI. Vines and Climbing Plants

Virginia Creeper Ampelopsis hederacea Parthenocissus quinquefolia

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Although, as we have said, the Ivy is not a native of this country, yet we have an indigenous vine, which, at least in summer, is not inferior to it. We refer to the Virginia Creeper (Ampelopsis hederacea), which is often called the American Ivy. The leaves are as large as the hand, deeply divided into five lobes, and the blossoms are succeeded by handsome, dark blue berries. The Virginia Creeper is a most luxuriant grower, and we have seen it climbing to the extremities of trees 70 or 80 feet in height. Like the Ivy it attaches itself to whatever it can lay hold of, by the little rootlets which spring out of the branches; and its foliage, when it clothes thickly a high wall, or folds itself in clustering wreaths around the trunk and branches of an open tree, is extremely handsome and showy. Although the leaves are not evergreen, like those of the Ivy, yet in autumn they far surpass those of that plant in the rich and gorgeous coloring which they then assume. Numberless trees may be seen in the country by the roadside, and in the woods, thus decked in autumn in the borrowed glories of the Virginia Creeper; but we particularly remember two as being remarkably striking objects; one, a wide-spread elm-the trunk and graceful diverging branches completely clad in scarlet by this beautiful vine, with which its own leaves harmonized well in their fine deep yellow dress; the other, a tall and dense Cedar, through whose dark green boughs gleamed the rich coloring of the Virginia Creeper, like a half-concealed, though glowing fire.