Parthenocissus quinquefolia, foliage and fruit
Scientific classification

Parthenocissus /ˌpɑːrθɪnˈsɪsəs/,[1] is a genus of tendril[2] climbing plants in the grape family, Vitaceae. It contains about 12 species native to the Himalayas, eastern Asia and North America.[3] Several are grown for ornamental use, notably P. henryana, P. quinquefolia and P. tricuspidata.[2]


The name derives from the Greek parthenos, "virgin", and kissos (Latinized as "cissus"), "ivy". The reason is variously given as the ability of these creepers to form seeds without pollination[4] or the English name of P. quinquefolia, Virginia creeper, which has become attached to the whole genus.[5]

Fossil record

Among the middle Miocene Sarmatian palynoflora from the Lavanttal Basin Austria researchers have recognized Parthenocissus fossil pollen. The sediment containing the Parthenocissus fossil pollen had accumulated in a lowland wetland environment with various vegetation units of mixed evergreen/deciduous broadleaved/conifer forests surrounding the wetland basin. Key relatives of the fossil taxa found with Parthenocissus are presently confined to humid warm temperate environments, suggesting a subtropical climate during the middle Miocene in Austria.[6]

Food plants

Parthenocissus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Brown-tail and The Gothic.


From Asia

From North America

  • Seven or five-leaved
    • Parthenocissus heptaphylla, sevenleaf creeper, from Texas and Mexico
    • Parthenocissus vitacea, thicket creeper, woodbine, or grape woodbine, from western and northern North America
    • Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Virginia creeper, from eastern North America


  1. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. 1 2 RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
  3. Ze-Long Nie a.o., "Molecular phylogeny and biogeographic diversification of Parthenocissus (Vitaceae) disjunct between Asia and North America", in: American Journal of Botany 97: p. 1342 (2010)
  4. Fralish, James S.; Franklin, Scott B. (2002). Taxonomy and Ecology of Woody Plants in North American Forests. John Wiley and Sons. p. 167. ISBN 0-471-16158-6. Retrieved 2008-03-09.
  5. Coombes, Allen J. (2012). The A to Z of plant names. USA: Timber Press. p. 312. ISBN 9781604691962.
  6. Combined LM and SEM study of the middle Miocene (Sarmatian) palynoflora from the Lavanttal Basin, Austria: part III. Magnoliophyta 1 – Magnoliales to Fabales, Friðgeir Grímsson, Barbara Meller, Johannes M. Bouchal & Reinhard Zetter, Grana 2015, Vol 54, No. 2, 85-128.

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.