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TREES & plants


Despite its name, Boston-ivy is not native to Boston but to eastern Asia. This deciduous vine is often used to cover brick walls and other hard surfaces of old universities buildings or famous ball fields.  Dark green leaves turn a brilliant red in the fall.

Botanical name: 
Parthenocissus tricuspidata
All Common Names: 
Boston-ivy, Japanese creeper, Boston ivy
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Vine
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Screen
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Creeping
  • Spreading
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

A fast growing, deciduous, woody vine that typically grows 30 to 50 feet high. It is a vigorous climber that uses tendrils and clings to surfaces with holdfasts.
Best  grown in average, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of full shade, but best fall color occurs in sunny locations.
This species has shown some invasive tendency in naturalize areas or when minimally managed in cultivation.

Disease, pests, and problems

Attaches to a building or wall, but difficult to remove and will damage painted surfaces and leave residues. 

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Deer, drought, and black walnut tolerant

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to eastern Asia,  Japan, Korea, and eastern China.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Birds are attracted to the blue-black fruit

Bark color and texture 

Squarish tan stems with prominent, vertically arranged lenticels

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Leaves are alternately arranged,  4 to 8 inch wide, simple 3-lobed leaves with serrated margins.
Glossy green in summer turns a reddish purple in fall

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Greenish-white flower panicles in June; not ornamentally important

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Bluish-black  fruit on red pedicles ripens in September often persisting into winter