Water-Saving Native Plant of the Week by Bob Dailey: Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) - A woody, deciduous vine, Virginia Creeper can be high-climbing or trailing, 3-40 ft. the structure on which it climbs is the limiting factor. Virginia Creeper climbs by means of tendrils with disks that fasten onto bark or rock. Its leaves, with 5 leaflets, occasionally 3 or 7, radiating from the tip of the petiole, coarsely toothed, with a pointed tip, and tapered to the base, up to 6 inches long. Leaves provide early fall color, turning brilliant mauve, red and purple. It is a member of the grape family. Inconspicuous flowers small, greenish, in clusters, appearing in spring. Fruit bluish, about 1/4 inch in diameter. Grows in any well drained soil including caliche from full sun to shade. Drought tolerant once established. The fruits are used by many birds through the winter (chickadees, nuthatches, mockingbirds, catbirds, finches, flycatchers, tanagers, swallows, vireos, warblers, woodpeckers, and thrushes). It is also a larval host for several species of sphinx moths. Note: In the right conditions this vine can become invasive. Virginia Creeper is sometimes mistaken as poison ivy. However poison ivy has three leaves, while Virginia Creeper has five. Virginia Creeper does not contain urushiol, the irritating substance in poison ivy.