Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch.
Family: Vitaceae (Grape family)
Life cycle: Perennial
Native status: Native to North America
General description: Woody vine that can climb to heights of 60 ft. Leaves are palmately compound with five leaflets, leaflets have toothed margins. Foliage turns red in the fall.
Key ID traits: Woody vine with five leaflets.
Similar species: Virginia creeper grows in the same habitat as poison ivy, but is easily distinguished by the five leaflets rather than three on poison ivy.
Miscellaneous: The sap of Virginia creeper can cause irritation to skin of some individuals. The plant has been used as an ornamental, either as a ground cover or to cover buildings. The aerial roots attach to surfaces with cup-like structures rather than penetrating the surface, so they are less damaging than some climbing plants. The plant is native to Iowa and is rarely a problem, but its occurrence with poison ivy and ability to cause rash result in many considering it to be a weed.