Perennial woody vine to 18 m long Stem: high-climbing, squarish, and branching. Leaves: alternate, stalked, 10 - 20 cm long, shiny dark green above, most leaves heart-shaped and three-lobed with pointed tips, a few leaves compound with three leaflets (trifoliate), lightly hairy on veins beneath, coarsely toothed. Fall color is bright red to orange. Flowers: borne on a narrow and slightly elongated inflorescence, individual flowers tiny with five petals and five stamens. Fruit: a thin-fleshed berry, bluish black, 6 - 8 mm across, covered with a waxy whitish coating. Tendrils: short and highly branched, ending in adhesive disks.
Similar species: Ampelopsis brevipedunculata does not have any compound leaves, its simple leaves are usually more deeply lobed, and its tendrils lack adhesive disks. Parthenocissus quinquefolia and Parthenocissus vitacea both have palmately compound leaves with five leaflets.
Flowering: June to August
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Asia, this species is used in the landscape as a wall climber. It rarely escapes from cultivation.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Parthenocissus comes from the Greek words parthenos, meaning virgin, and kissos meaning ivy. Tricuspidata means three-pointed, referring to the leaves.
High-climbing and freely branched; tendrils with preformed adhesive disks; lvs mostly or all cordate and 3-lobed, but often a few of them trifoliolate. Native of China and Japan, locally escaped from cult. here and there in our range.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.