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Kentucky Color - Virginia Creeper

Beautiful - but beware their berries. They're extremely poisonous to us humans and can be fatal, though chipmunks, squirrels and some birds find them an important food source - BJF
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By Billy Joe Fudge, Retired District Forester
Kentucky Division of Forestry

Virginia Creeper, also known as American Ivy is a woody stemmed climbing vine welcomed in many of our urban landscapes and one which we see all around our surrounding countryside.


Although it is not parasitic it is a climber and when it attaches itself to buildings it can easily, over time, damage whatever surface (wood, brick, concrete, etc.) to which it clings. It also damages tree bark and can rob trees to of much needed sunlight which can weaken and kill some of them. Much of this damage can be prevented by cutting the vine back to near the surface of the ground in early winter after leaf fall.

Virginia Creeper's leaflets are sort of red when the leaves first emerge before turning green with maturity and then during the fall the colors range from a brilliant red to a most soft and rustic maroon. It has blackish, bluish berries which are an important food source for chipmunks, squirrels and some birds but they are extremely poisonous to us humans and can be fatal.

Even though Virginia Creeper resembles Poison Ivy it is easily identified by its five leaflets since Poison Ivy has only three. Our forefathers often referred to it as 5 leaf Poison Ivy. Although I have never personally heard of anyone having an allergic reaction to Virginia Creeper the so called experts tell us that it is a possibility. - Billy Joe Fudge


This story was posted on 2013-07-21 03:16:31
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Kentucky Color - Virginia Creeper



2013-07-21 - Adair County, KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge, Retired District Forester, KY State Division of Forestry. Even though Virginia Creeper resembles Poison Ivy it is easily identified by its five leaflets since Poison Ivy has only three. Our forefathers often referred to it as 5 leaf Poison Ivy. Although I have never personally heard of anyone having an allergic reaction to Virginia Creeper the so called experts tell us that it is a possibility. - Billy Joe Fudge
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