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TREES & Plants

Boston-Ivy

Despite its name, Boston ivy is not native to Boston but native 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): 
Grape
Family (Botanic): 
Vitaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Vine
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial shade (4-6 hrs indirect light daily)
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Tolerances: 
  • Dry sites
  • Occasional drought
  • Clay soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Creeping
  • Spreading
Landscape Uses: 
  • Screen
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