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Parthenocissus quinquefolia fructis.jpg
Parthenocissus quinquefolia, foliage and fruit
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Vitales
Family: Vitaceae
Subfamily: Vitoideae
Genus: Parthenocissus

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[edit]

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[edit]

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


From Asia[edit]

From North America[edit]


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ a b 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.