Probably off topic, but I need help: mystery plant

Nathan Lange
Mon, 13 Jul 2015 18:25:03 PDT


I will be very surprised if this plant is 
anything other than Parthenocissus although it 
would be far more interesting if someone can 
prove otherwise. I also noticed the lack of leaf 
serration but the leaflet margins are scalloped 
at about the same frequency as normal serrations 
on Parthenocissus leaves. Low light conditions 
are known to favor more entire leaf margins over 
serrated leaves in some species. The open growth 
on the Juniper and appearance of the Vinca minor 
underneath suggest that light may be limited at this location.

We know that this is a property where the owner 
is content with a really boring Juniper 
underplanted with Vinca minor right along the 
sidewalk, maybe even near the front yard where 
the brick sidewalk meets a paved driveway or 
patio, suggesting that we don't have to look to 
exotic or unusual possibilities for 
identification of plants growing here. As you 
know, Parthenocissus is really common back East 
and seeds could easily have been deposited here 
by birds, especially under a Juniper. Even the 
general healthy appearance of this plant suggests 
Parthenocissus which always does well if water is 
available. I would also not completely rule out 
P. tricuspidata although I know its juvenile 
phase normally has three leaflets per leaf. The 
trident shaped leaves on those runners look like they could be P. tricuspidata.

Someone here must recognize this plant.


At 02:06 PM 7/13/2015, you wrote:
>Thanks, Nathan.I agree that Parthenocissus 
>quinquefolia is a very good guess: I've been 
>trying to make it a Virginia creeper variant 
>since I first saw it. I've searched some 
>century-old books for information about Virginia 
>creeper cultivars without luck. I've made up 
>names (Parthenocissus quinquefolia truncata, P. 
>quinquefolia obtusifolia and others) to search 
>the literature - but so far no luck. And note 
>that the mystery plant does not have serrated 
>edges to the leaves.  Please keep trying. Jim 
>McKenneyMontgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA 
>pbs mailing list 

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