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Virginia Creeper

  • Parthenocissus quinquefolia L.
  • Vitis quinquefolia. L.
  • Grape family

Common Names

herbsAmerican ivy
herbsFalse grape
herbsFive leaves
herbsVirginia creeper
herbsWild woodbine

Parts Usually Used

Root, leaves, bark and twigs

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Climbing or creeping vine with adhesive disks on much-branched tendrils. Ascending to 50 to 100 ft. mostly by means of its radiating tendrils supporting itself firmly on trees, stone walls, churches, etc. This is a woody vine of the grape family, with smooth leaves and many leaflets. Leaves divided into 5 leaflets; elliptical to oval, sharply toothed. Small greenish or white flowers in terminal groups; June. Bark and twigs are collected after the small dark berries have ripened. Has a persistent acrid taste; not unpleasant.

Where Found

Thickets, weedy. Maine to Florida; Texas to Kansas, Minnesota.

Medicinal Properties

Astringent, diuretic, tonic


Native Americans used plant tea for jaundice; root tea for gonorrhea, scrofula, dropsy, bronchitis, pneumonia, cholera, diarrhea. Leaf tea used to wash swellings and poison-sumac rash; mixed with vinegar for wounds and lockjaw; astringent and diuretic.

Formulas or Dosages

The decoction is mucilaginous.


Berries reportedly toxic. Leaves toxic; touching autumn foliage may cause dermatitis. Use this herb under medical supervision only.

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