Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Pepper Vine
Ampelopsis arborea

Family: Vitaceae (vee-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ampelopsis (am-pel-OP-sis) (Info)
Species: arborea (ar-BOR-ee-uh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

Unknown - Tell us

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 15 photos.
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5 positives
4 neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral MeaganW On Oct 28, 2014, MeaganW from Baytown, TX wrote:

I rated Neutral because I have only encountered this among many spelunking adventures off the beaten path around the SE Houston Area.

I am currently inflamed with the worst kind of Poison Ivy Rash known to man, so I quickly dismissed this as Poison Ivy without collecting my specimens for pressing. (Ain't nobody got time fo' dat!)

Better to be safe than sorry - snapped two photos until proper ID had been found and plan to grab my specimens in the morning.

That being said, I find this to be a very attractive plant, but I have seen it strangle out neighboring vegetation, powerlines, fences, etc. I would tend to take the local posters advice and not incorporate this into your garden if it is native to your area, or you live in the Houston Area at least.

Remember: "Better safe than sorry!"

Positive Mila1 On Sep 29, 2014, Mila1 from Memphis, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:

This vine is a workhorse. Don't plant it next to your dainty flowers. Train it over a chain link fence, and you will never have to water it. Thank goodness for native plants that support wildlife that pollinate our crops and provide us with food.

Negative Tired_Yeti On Sep 3, 2014, Tired_Yeti from Katy, TX wrote:

While this vine has some aesthetic value, I find that it grows so quickly here (Houston, TX) that it's not controllable. This vine has nearly pulled down my 6 foot wooden fence and almost completely killed all 4 of my Crepe Myrtes. It is also threatening my Mexican Lime tree (which I simply cannot tolerate!). It has found it's way into a couple of small cracks along the coping tiles of my in-ground pool and as it's roots grow down for water, it threatens to crack my plaster pool! It has grown thickly across 2 power poles and along the power lines adding quite a bit of weight to the power cables; thus, threatening my house's power supply. All of the above examples happened over the course of ONE summer! It will trail along fences, your "good" plants, power lines, or any other overhead structure...and drop berries everywhere. It seems, of course, that wherever the berries fall and take seed, you get another peppervine sprout! It grows SO FAST that it will literally grow from an unnoticeable sprout to a 6 inch plant in about 24 hours or so. Unchecked, this vine, will get very long (easily well over 10') with many branches and can get a significantly thick trunk. It also has tendrils so that it very securely holds fast to a host plant or other structure. The fast metabolism of this plant is also one of it's down falls. It needs lots of sunlight and its growth can be retarded if you cover it with something that occludes the light (cardboard, black plastic, etc). Also, using a strong herbicide (e.g. Round-Up Poison Ivy forumla) will literally wither this vine overnight. This vine had completely covered my azalea bush but by spraying the Round Up poison on just the exposed leaves of the peppervine (so as not to spray the azalea), the herbicide was carried to the roots were it killed the entire plant (and my azaleas are unscathed). Since spraying, I have found dried up peppervine all over my backyard were I wasn't even aware there was peppervine growing (so that particular herbicide works very well for this botanical pest) because the poison was taken back to the root of the plant where it killed the entire plant. It grows so fast that it's a constant battle for me. I fight this plant weekly!

Positive kozmodaze On May 21, 2013, kozmodaze from Maysville, NC wrote:

at first i didnt know what to think of the pepper vine, but then an odd use came to mind i ran 5 grape wires along the carport almost 50 feet total and trained it to be a living wall/shade/wind break . i will upload a pivture Everyone loves it and it being on the south side of the house it actually provides a nive cool place to relax in the summer. I love it

Neutral feralboy On Oct 1, 2012, feralboy from Houston, TX wrote:

Rating positive overall but I had one bad experience with the plant as a kid.

One day a friend and I were climbing through a jungle of this stuff that was growing all over staging for a huge crane arm that was laying on the ground, stacked. The berries were everywhere.
I noticed the berries stained clothing so I collected a bunch in a little cotton sack I had that you could buy at the grocery store full of gum shaped like pebbles. I mashed the berries in that sack until it was all saturated and then rinsed out the contents. The little bag was a nice magenta /purple. As were my hands
not long after my hands were itching like crazy. Its been a while ago but, if my memory serves me well, that went on for a good while. Probably until I washed my hands properly. :-)

Positive wormfood On Nov 8, 2010, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I was standing around waiting and admiring this person's weeds hang from a tree when I noticed that the tree WAS the weed. It was the Pepper Vine with a trunk that must have been 8 or 10" in diameter. I just stood there in awe and there was nobody around to tell.

Negative goGardenNow On Apr 13, 2010, goGardenNow from Statesboro, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Hate it. Now, if I could find a good use for it, I'd love it.

Negative knolan On Sep 28, 2009, knolan from Sugar Land, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant grows wild here and pops up in all of my beds and even throughout the grass. If allowed to grow on it's own, it will smother any plant in it's path. It's is as invasive as the trumpet vine. Both are my garden nemesis.

Positive WUVIE On Jun 12, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

For years this plant has confused me.

First I saw it in the woods and thought it was
a Campsis radicans, so I dismissed it. Then
I saw the plant in a pot well cared for, sold as
Japanese Princess.

Next I bought two little plants at a yard sale called
Arkansas Traveler, which needless to say, led me
on an endless chase for it's true identity.

In brief, this plant may be somewhat unattractive in
the woods, but my gosh, it's a beauty when cared for!
The lady I bought two plants from had it growing up her
eleven foot balcony, where it then spread out in it's glory
of alternating foliage color. Beautiful indeed!

Moral of the story? We have Ampelopsis growing all over
our back property. Guess what me and the shovel will be
doing all week?


Neutral frostweed On Nov 22, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Pepper Vine, Ampelopsis arborea is native to Texas and other States.

Neutral smiln32 On Apr 19, 2005, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Just for fun, the name "ampelopsis" means "vinelike". The leaves are deciduous and look like grape vine leaves. Flowers are not very showy, but the fruits are more so. Prefers full sun to partial shade.

Positive trois On Aug 6, 2004, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant grows wild over most of our place. It is easily controlled, and is an interesting plant. Many people think it is Poison Ivy.

I ate a lot of the berries this summer. They are related to grapes, and are sweet with a slight black pepper taste. Still a very beautiful plant.
Wildlife like birds, raccoons and so forth are very fond of these. They eat most before I get a chance.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Wetumpka, Alabama
Morrilton, Arkansas
Arcadia, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Savannah, Georgia
Statesboro, Georgia
Millstadt, Illinois
Lexington, Kentucky
Greenwell Springs, Louisiana
Pollock, Louisiana
Marietta, Mississippi
Piedmont, Missouri
Cedar Island, North Carolina
Elizabethtown, North Carolina
Hatteras, North Carolina
Manteo, North Carolina
Maysville, North Carolina
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Pocola, Oklahoma
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Memphis, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Baytown, Texas
Houston, Texas
Katy, Texas
Manvel, Texas
Quinlan, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Snook, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas

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