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Article: English Ivy: Beauty or Beast?: other ivies

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Forum: Article: English Ivy: Beauty or Beast?Replies: 2, Views: 37
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Lubbock, TX

June 2, 2009
3:30 AM

Post #6629237

I have a friend that claims Virginia Creeper is also known as Boston Ivy and is highly desirable, especially if creeping up a tree and his brick house. My gardener instincts and training tell me he's wrong!! What do you think? I love English ivy but here in west Texas it's allowed to grow rampant in the gardens and becomes a bully.
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

June 2, 2009
5:17 AM

Post #6629597

Hi Jrainger,
You've asked an interesting question, one I had never considered. Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia and Boston ivy Parthenocissus tricuspidata are, let's say, cousins. They are not the same, but come from the same family.

There is a difference in their looks, too, Boston ivy has a trifoliate leaf, meaning it is a whole but has three sections, much like a maple leaf. Virginia creeper has a leaf that has separate parts, not whole. Hard to describe without a photo, and I don't have one handy to send, but you probably could google it or find it in plant files.

Another little difference, if I remember correctly is that VC leaves are reddish when young, then become green. Boston ivy is always a dark green. VC might also grow a little longer in its vining. I have no experience with it, but have heard that Virginia creeper can choke trees, too.

I hope this helps, I haven't had much experience with either, but am vaguely familiar with both.

Nice to hear from you.
Calvert City, KY
(Zone 7a)

June 2, 2009
5:19 AM

Post #6629603

Oh and one more thing, the creeper has five petals to its leaf, unlike the trifoliates of Boston ivy which only has 3 points and the leaves are not separated into petals.

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