|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Virginia creeper or five-leaved ivy (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a woody vine native to eastern and central North America, in southeastern Canada, the eastern and central United States, eastern Mexico, and Guatemala, west as far as Manitoba, South Dakota, Utah and Texas.|
It is a prolific climber, reaching heights of 20 to 30 m in the wild, it climbs smooth surfaces using small forked tendrils tipped with small strongly adhesive pads 5 mm in size. The leaves are palmately compound, comprised of five leaflets (rarely three leaflets, particularly on younger vines) joined from a central point on the leafstalk, and range from 3 to 20 cm (rarely 30 cm) across. The leaflets have a toothed margin, which makes it easy to distinguish from poison-ivy, which has three leaflets with smooth edges.
The flowers are small and greenish, produced in clusters in late spring, and mature in late summer or early fall into small hard purplish-black berries 5 to 7 mm diameter. These berries contain oxalic acid, which is poisonous to humans and other mammals, and may be fatal if eaten. However, accidental poisoning is uncommon, likely because of the bad taste of the berries. Despite being poisonous to mammals, they provide an important winter food source for birds.
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