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BOSTON IVY

Parthenocissus tricuspidata

Vine Family [Vitaceae]

month8sep month8sept month8oct month8nov

Berries: berryZpossible        berryZgreen berryZyellow berryZbluish berryZblack  (5-10mmφ, poisonous)
berry8oct berry8nov berry8dec

category
category8Climbers
status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8green
 
flower
flower8cream
 
inner
inner8brown
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ5
sepals
stem
stem8round
 
toxicity
toxicityZmedium
 

19th June 2013, a pub wall, Wheelton, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Unlike plants in the same Parthenocissus family, Virginia Creeper and False Virginia Creeper with their palmate 5-lobed leaves, Boston Ivy has either simple leaves 3-lobed leaves. This woody vine can climb walls and trees up to a height of 30m.


11th June 2014, a wall, Bradwell, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
It attaches to the substrate by means of sticky pads which are on the ends of each branch of the tendrils.


11th June 2014, a wall, Bradwell, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The leaves have a glossy upper surface and are a bright-green, but redden easily in strong sun.


Photo: © RWD
These leaves seem to be slightly smaller and a slightly different shape (but still 3-lobed) to the previous examples. It is growing up a brick wall. However, the size specification for Boston Ivy leaves is 5cm to 22cm, so all should be well.


Photo: © RWD
Here some leaves have turned a bright crimson colour.


Photo: © RWD


Photo: © RWD
The flowers are tiny (compare the leaf on the left). The network of branches and tendril can be seen close to the brickwork behind.


Photo: © RWD
The flowers nominally have 5 sepals although some here have but 4 (it lacks petals).


Photo: © RWD
The 5 sepals are pale-green. Long stamens lie along the same radial axis as the sepals, each tipped by a cream-coloured anther.


Photo: © RWD
The ovary in the centre is paler-green, slightly 5-lobed and tapers to a round neck, a bit like a laboratory flask or vinegar bottle for the dinner table. Unopened flower bud just right and below centre.


Photo: © RWD
The ovary from the side. There is also an as-yet un-opened flower bud lurking centre-stage.


Photo: © RWD
The pale green sepals have in-curled irregular white margins, reflecting the shape of the flower-bud.


Photo: © RWD


Photo: © RWD
The stems are stubby and branched. The flower is borne within a darker-green stubby golf-tee thingamajig, to be technical :-)


11th June 2014, a wall, Bradwell, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The tendrils are branched.


11th June 2014, a wall, Bradwell, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Presumably the ovaloidal green tips on the tendril will eventually develop into sticky discs which will attach themselves to the vertical substrate, enabling the plant to reach 30m in height without getting dizzy spells.


11th June 2014, a wall, Bradwell, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Here several discs on the ends of the tendrils have attached themselves very firmly to the wall. Pulling these plants off the wall will inevitably lead to damage of the wall; such is their tenacity. If removal becomes necessary (these plants are notoriously voracious spreaders), then kill the plant first by severing the trunks descending into the ground, leaving for a few weeks for the plant to die before removing. This will limit the damage caused.


11th June 2014, a wall, Bradwell, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
A new shoot with leaves of various stages of growth is sprouting tendrils near the end.


Not to be semantically confused with : Ivy (Hedera helix) [a plant with similar name belonging to the Araliaceae, a totally differing family]

Many similarities to : Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and False Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus vitacea) which belong to the same Vitaceae family but have leaves that are usually 5-lobed. False Virginia Creeper lacks the sticky discoidal terminations on the ends of the tendril possessed both by Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper.

It is a neophyte, grown on tall walls and escapes into the wild to grow in hedges, shrub and old walls. It is very scattered in the British Isles, mostly in the North to the South West. It is native to Eastern Asia such as japan, Korea and parts of China.

The fruit is bluish-black and a little like a grape, but much smaller, 5 to 10mm across. It is poisonous, containing Oxalic Acid in the form of raphides, very thin needle-like crystals able to easily penetrate individual cells and cause their demise. It is thus a physical poison, rather than a chemical poison.


  Parthenocissus tricuspidata  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Vitaceae  

Distribution
 family8Vine family8Vitaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Parthenocissus
Parthenocissus
(Virginia-Creepers)

BOSTON IVY

Parthenocissus tricuspidata

Vine Family [Vitaceae]