Perennial woody vine to 7.5 m long Stem: brownish, angled to nearly circular in cross-section, coarsely hairy when young. Leaves: alternate, stalked, 6 - 12 cm long, broad egg-shaped with a long pointed tip and squared to heart-shaped base, coarsely toothed, shallowly to deeply three- to five-lobed, softly hairy to hairless beneath. Flowers: borne opposite the leaves on a long-stalked inflorescence forking repeatedly, individual flowers 4 mm wide with five greenish petals. Fruit: a thin-fleshed berry, changing from yellow to lilac to bright blue, 7 - 10 mm long, with two to four seeds. Tendrils: few, borne opposite the leaves, lacking adhesive disks.
Similar species: Parthenocissus tricuspidata differs by having some compound leaves with three leaflets, simple leaves that are usually more shallowly lobed, and tendrils with adhesive disks.
Flowering: June to August
Habitat and ecology: This species was introduced from Asia and is found in disturbed areas.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Notes: This species has escaped cultivation, becoming fairly common along the east coast. It has become a problem because it climbs over and shades out native species. Birds commonly eat the fruit and, consequently, drop the seeds in natural areas. The variegated cultivar 'Elegans' is grown in landscapes, but also has potential to spread to natural areas.
Etymology: Ampelopsis comes from the Greek words ampelos , meaning vine, and opsis, meaning likeness, referring to its similarity to a grape vine. Brevipedunculata means "having a short flower stalk."
Much like no. 1 [Ampelopsis cordata Michx.], but more pubescent, the young twigs, the petioles, and the lower side of the lvs (at least the main veins) rather coarsely ±hairy; lvs, or some of them, evidently (not necessarily very deeply) 3-lobed, varying to deeply 5-lobed with some of the lobes again cleft; fr hard, bright blue to marbled or white; 2n=20. Native of ne. Asia, cult. in the U.S. and now well established as an escape from N. Engl. to N.C., w. to Ont. and Mich. July, Aug.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.