Vining invasives

Continuing from “Seedy invasives”, I turn to a pretty but ominous plant seen at Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden yesterday morning: Ampelopsis brevipedunculata, or porcelainberry, in the Araliaceae:


From this to Hedera helix and other vining invasives.

(Note the grape-like leaves. And the colorful berries that give the plant its common name.) At GG, the plant was sprawled over an arbor, completely covering it. From Wikipedia:

Ampelopsis is a genus of climbing shrubs, in the grape family Vitaceae. The name is derived from the Greek word ampelos, which means “vine”. The genus was named in 1803.

And from an invasive plant site:

Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (origin: China, Korea, Japan and Russian Far East). Porcelainberry, also called amur peppervine, was originally cultivated as a bedding and landscape plant. In spite of its acknowledged invasiveness, it is still widely used and promoted in the horticultural trade.

…Porcelainberry is a vigorous invader of open and wooded habitats where it shades out native shrubs and young trees. As it spreads, it climbs over and blankets existing plants and weakens and kills them by blocking sunlight.

The grape family. From Wikipedia:

The Vitaceae are a family of dicotyledonous flowering plants, including the grapevine and Virginia creeper. The family name is derived from the genus Vitis. The name sometimes appears as Vitidaceae, but Vitaceae is a conserved name and therefore has priority over both Vitidaceae and another name sometimes found in the older literature, Ampelidaceae.

The family is economically important as the berries of Vitis species, commonly known as grapes, are an important fruit crop and, when fermented, produce wine.

Grape vines can also overwhelm structures and other plants.

On to ivy. From Wikipedia:

Hedera helix (common ivy, English ivy, European ivy, or just ivy) is a species of flowering plant in the family Araliaceae, native to most of Europe and western Asia. A rampant, clinging evergreen vine, it is a familiar sight in gardens, waste spaces, on house walls, tree trunks and in wild areas across its native habitat. It is labeled as an invasive species in a number of areas where it has been introduced.

The plant spreads by climbing up vertical surfaces, using clasping rootlets; by creeping across the ground; and via seeds (berries) spread by birds. A triple-threat plant.





And berries:


Ridding our Columbus lawn and garden of ivy — the stuff came with the house — was a project of years’ duration, requiring almost daily attention from everyone in the household. But eventually we prevailed.

The aralia family. From Wikipedia:

The Araliaceae are a family of flowering plants, also known as the aralia family (after its type genus Aralia) or ivy family. The family includes 254 species of trees, shrubs, lianas, and perennial herbaceous plants in two subfamilies. Species usually bear pinnately or palmately compound leaves, and usually have small flowers produced in large panicles.

The genus Aralia. From Wikipedia:

Aralia … or spikenard, is a genus of the family Araliaceae, consisting of 68 accepted species of deciduous or evergreen trees, shrubs, and rhizomatous herbaceous perennials. The genus is native to Asia and the Americas, with most species occurring in mountain woodlands. Aralia plants vary in size, with some herbaceous species only reaching 50 centimetres (20 in) tall, while some are trees growing to 20 metres (66 ft) tall.

Several species of aralias are popular as indoor plants in temperate climates — as shrubby floor plants, as table houseplants, and as bonsai plants. Here’s a Ming aralia much like one I grew as a houseplant for greenery in Columbus; they don’t bloom:


Another plant in the aralia family. Also noted at GG yesterday was a large, striking, unignorable plant in the aralia family: Cussonia paniculata, the mountain cabbage tree:


Cussonia paniculata is a large evergreen shrub or small tree up to 5 metres (16 ft) in height native to South Africa. The plant has large and bold textured grey foliage. (Wikipedia link)

From the archives: monsters of vegetative spread. In earlier postings:

on 3/14/13: the vine wisteria, in the Fabaceae, or legumes: “Wisteria is considered an invasive species in many parts of the U.S., especially the Southeast, due to its ability to overtake and choke out other native plant species. [It can also do considerable damage to structures if not kept carefully in check.]”

on 8/28/13: one monster from the Polygonumaceae, or buckwheat family (new to these invasiveness postings): mile-a-minute vine. And one from the Fabeaceae, or legumes: kudzu. Both vining menaces.

on 7/9//14: another monster from the Polygonumaceae: Japanese knotweed. Vegetative, but not vining: “new plants can grow from the tiniest fragments of stem or rhizome, all too easily carried by floodwaters or by human activities such as the dumping of garden waste. What’s more, pieces of rhizome can remain dormant for years before sprouting.”

(Also in the Polygonumaceae, but not monstrous: rhubarb, discussed on 8/1/15.)

Family count. At the end of “Seedy invasives”, the count of plant families was 22. Now we have three more (Vitaceae, Araliaceae, Polygonumaceae), for a new total of 25.

2 Responses to “Vining invasives”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    I can’t remember now if you’ve talked before about Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus, a very nasty vining invasive.

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