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]

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


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 recordEdit

Among the middle Miocene Sarmatian palynoflora from the Lavanttal Basin Austrian 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 plantsEdit

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


From AsiaEdit

From North AmericaEdit


  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 978-1405332965.
  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. pp. 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.