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Name: Nobel
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Question:
Hello there, I have a question about Parthenocissus quinquefolia, commomly known as virginia creeper. Some of my resources say that the berries are poisonous and other sources say they are not. The USDA has it listed both ways on their plant website. Can you set me straight.


Replies:
Dear Nobel,

I do not know if I can set you straight. The historical literature is confusing. There are some indications people have confused poison ivy for virginia creeper and even sold poison ivy as virginia creeper many years ago. Both plants will grow in the same places and have a similar habit. On the other hand. chemical analyses of virginia creeper berries state that oxalic acid, a known irritant and potential poison is present. As well, concentrations of oxalic acid may vary between cultivars and can lead to a situation where some plants might be poisonous and other not.

Jim Tokuhisa, Ph.D.


Most of the information indicates toxicity:

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/Parthqu.htm

so it should be assumed to be poisonous.

Sincerely,

Anthony R. Brach, PhD



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