Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Virginia creeper creeps on apace

with 22 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

Click for greater clarity and considerably larger size.

Known as Virginia creeper or five-leaf creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia is among the most common vines in central Texas, but in spite of its commonness it’s making its first appearance in these pages today. One of the virtues of this plant in central Texas is that its leaves, each composed of five leaflets radiating from a common point, regularly turn yellow and orange and red in the fall and thereby add welcome autumn color to a region not noted for it. I photographed this spiderwebbed specimen in my neighborhood on November 24.

Virgina creeper creeps across large parts of North America, as you can confirm on the state-clickable USDA map.

For those of you who are interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 3, 6, 7, and 12 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 14, 2012 at 6:15 AM

22 Responses

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  1. Gorgeous!

    Mufidah Kassalias

    December 14, 2012 at 6:28 AM

    • We need all the autumn color we can get here. In the three weeks since I took this picture, there’s still a bit of bright color left here and there, but not much.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2012 at 7:19 AM

  2. Really beautiful!


    December 14, 2012 at 9:16 AM

  3. Absolutely gorgeous.. thanks Steve


    December 14, 2012 at 10:12 AM

  4. It sure brightened my day. We’re cloudy and cold here. Thanks.


    December 14, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    • It brightens mine, too, because we’ve had overcast skies here since yesterday afternoon. Compared to you, though, we’re warm: the temperature outside now is 67°.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2012 at 3:04 PM

  5. Breathtaking colours in a simple but effective composition. Your work is soooo artistic, Steve.

    Mary Mageau

    December 14, 2012 at 6:33 PM

  6. Beautiful. Love the saturated red and blue.


    December 14, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    • The translucent light really brings out the red, especially when contrasted with the clear blue of the sky.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2012 at 8:29 PM

  7. Pretty shot!


    December 14, 2012 at 10:24 PM

  8. Brilliant red. So pretty. I like this vine a lot and so do the birds. The berries are always gone in a hurry.
    There is a “saying” about how to distinguish poison oak and Virgina creeper but I can not remember it. I just know that V. creeper has 5 leaflets and poison oak only has 4 but I think it has 5 sometimes. I know how to tell the difference by the shape of the leaves. I have showed the difference to a lot of people and they still don’t process what is so evident.


    December 14, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    • For some reason, I don’t often see the fruit of this common vine. As for the differences between Virginia creeper and two species that some people confuse it with, poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) and poison oak (Toxicodendron pubescens), those two have three leaflets that are arranged in a kind of T. The central leaflet is roughly symmetric across its center line, while each of the side leaflets is asymmetric. A few pictures of poison oak should make that clearer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 15, 2012 at 6:45 AM

      • You don’t see it because the birds eat the ripen berries really fast. I wanted to get some pics this year of the fruit but I waited a day or so and it was gone when I went to the fence it was growing on.


        December 15, 2012 at 9:38 AM

  9. Festive!
    And I love that back-lighting too! ~ Lynda


    December 15, 2012 at 4:15 PM

  10. Not only festive, but fun. She looks like a branch-walker balanced on one foot, trying to decide if she should retreat before getting to that sticky situation!

    Beautiful colors – it’s understandable why so many in the country make this part of fall decorating.


    December 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    • Now that you suggest it, I can see the dancer.

      I wasn’t aware that people have turned Virginia creeper into a fall decoration, but I can understand why they would.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 16, 2012 at 5:21 PM

  11. […] the same place at the edge of a road in my neighborhood where I photographed the lone Virginia creeper leaf you saw the other day, I found this Texas red oak, Quercus buckleyi, turning similarly warm and […]

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