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.
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:
so it should be assumed to be poisonous.
Anthony R. Brach, PhD
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Update: June 2012