Tag: Vines

  • Bittersweet

    Like many invasive species, Oriental Bittersweet came here because it was beautiful. Its berries make a lively splash of color in the winter, especially against a backdrop of evergreens. This vine was growing at the edge of the woods in Bethel Park.

  • Porcelainberry

    It is an invasive species in our area, but it is not hard to see how it got here. These beautiful multicolored berries decorate the vines in the fall; they would tempt any gardener with a wall to cover. These wild vines were fruiting beside a gravel parking lot at the back of the South Side.

  • Fall Colors in the City

    Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) begins to show its autumn color, and its little inedible grapes, on a garage wall in an alley on the South Side.

  • Frost Grapes

    These are the grape vines that take over whole lots and smother large trees. When they get to tree-smothering size, they produce thousands of these little grapes, which are intensely flavorful and quite tart. They sweeten a bit after a frost. The grapes hang on into the winter; these were hanging on a huge vine in Beechview in late November.

  • Porcelainberry

    Porcelainberry (Ampelopsis glandulosa var. brevipedunculata) is another one of those beautiful ornamentals with a plot to take over the world. It was brought into this country for the delightfully subtle colors of its berries. Birds love them, and the vine is distributed everywhere. Here it was fruiting at the lower edge of the South Side Slopes. Above: before a hard freeze; below, after.

  • Fall Colors on the South Side

    Leaves and berries. Above, Red Maple (Acer rubrum).

    Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).

    The beautiful and destructively invasive Asian Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus).

    Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina).

  • English Ivy in Bloom

    We’re used to English Ivy, that beautiful and enthusiastically invasive European import, as a solid mass of dark green leaves.

    But it is a flowering plant, of course, and therefore it has flowers. After many years, when it has reached a certain height and maturity, it will send forth a multitude of stalks bearing clusters of clusters of little green flowers with a heady scent, something like linden-flower tea, that attracts insects of all sorts to pollinate them. Curiously the flowering stems bear leaves that no longer grow in the familiar lobed ivy shape; instead they are unlobed, rather diamond-shaped, or like an aspen leaf, and larger than the leaves on the rest of the vine.

  • Morning Glories

    Morning glories (Ipomoea purpurea) came here as ornamental garden flowers and have happily adapted to the life of a weed. They are, however, one of our most beautiful weeds, and not many of us resent them. These were blooming in Beechview at the end of August.