General info about Fruit
Virginia creeper or five-leaved ivy (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a woody vine native to eastern and central North America, in southeastern Canada, the eastern and central United States, eastern Mexico, and Guatemala, west as far as Manitoba, South Dakota, Utah and Texas.
It is a prolific climber, reaching heights of 20-30 m in the wild, it climbs smooth surfaces using small forked tendrils tipped with small strongly adhesive pads 5 mm in size. The leaves are palmately compound, comprised of five leaflets (rarely three leaflets, particularly on younger vines) joined from a central point on the leafstalk, and range from 3-20 cm (rarely 30 cm) across. The leaflets have a toothed margin, which makes it easy to distinguish from poison-ivy, which has three leaflets with smooth edges.
Ways to prepare and serve the Fruit
Edible Parts: Fruit; Root; Stem.
Fruit - raw. The fruit is not very well flavoured, nor is it produced very freely. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and is carried in small bunches like grapes. Stalks - cooked. They should be peeled and then boiled. The stalks are cut, boiled and peeled, and the sweetish substance between the bark and the wood is used for food. Root - cooked.
Health Benefits and Warnings of eating Fruit
Alterative; Astringent; Diuretic; Expectorant; Tonic.
The bark and fresh young shoots are aperient, alterative, emetic, expectorant and tonic. A hot decoction can be used as a poultice to help reduce swellings. A tea made from the leaves is aperient, astringent and diuretic. It is used as a wash on swellings and poison ivy rash. A tea made from the plant is used in the treatment of jaundice. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea and diarrhea. The fruit is useful in treating fevers.
Dye; Ground cover.
A pink dye is obtained from the fruit. The plant can be allowed to fall down banks and make a spreading ground cover. They are best spaced about 3 metres apart each way. They are very vigorous, however, and would soon swamp smaller plants.
Species: P. quinquefolia