Monday, June 9, 2008

ID These Please

This is a Brooklyn yard. All those plants growing like crazy. Mugwort growing at the bottom, and if you look closely on the bottom right, the all-too common Brooklyn snail hanging out on some of last year's stems.


Here are photos of some of the weeds in my yard. seemed the woody stems aren't the same plant as the mysterious vine. The two vines on the wall of my building are also pretty abundant. Would you happen to know what kinds of ivy they are?

Thanks for your help,


The wall vines were e-a-s-y once I saw them.

This is Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia. This plant is native to the eastern U.S. and has nice red foliage in the autumn, though some consider it a weed. Pull it if you don't want it. What I like to do is selectively pull, always leaving some where it looks good and I can manage it(usually along a fence or wall). The "quinquefolia" in the name refers to the 5-leaflet leaf structure. In the photo, you can see it growing with the next plant below.

This is Boston Ivy, Parthenocissus tricuspidata, a common garden and landscape vine. However, Boston Ivy is not native as it originates from eastern Asia. As the first botanical name will tell you, it is related to Virgina Creeper. The second name refers to its 3-lobed leaves. As you can see in the first photo, Boston Ivy has shiny leaves and the Creeper, dull.

This plant I grew up with; it growing on our fence at the edge of the woods. I believe it to be Oriental Bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus. This plant is native to Eastern Asia and has naturalized over much of the eastern U.S. It can be aggressive, strangling other plants with its twining vine. It spreads by seed, so pull it up while it is flowering to avoid dropping more seeds.

When your yard is overgrown like this with woodland edge plants, its always a good idea to keep your eyes out for poison ivy, which often grows in similar conditions.


  1. Thanks for the identifications! Unfortunately, the tiger mosquitoes are back, and the heat wave has kept me from continuing with my weeding. But I'm starting to see what my yard could look like ... Oh, and if you feel up to it, I've got a bunch more plants in my yard that I can't identify.

  2. send me any photos, and I'll identify what I can. Good luck with those mosquitoes. I might say that I do not remember them from my childhood. I first noticed these, with the black and white striped legs, in Park Slope around 2001. I do not recollect seeing them previously, although I am sure they were there. Once you clear your yard (and remove any standing water), the mosquito count may diminish a little. Ask your neighbors to do the same :)


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...