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What Is a Porcelain Vine?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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Porcelain vine is a deciduous perennial and climbing vine that is often grown for its colorful foliage. Scientifically known as Ampelopsis brevipedunculata, it belongs to the Vitaceae family. Porcelain vine originated from northeast Asia and is a native of China, Korea, and the eastern part of Russia. It was introduced in the United States in the 1870s as a plant for bedding and landscaping. Since then, it has been widely promoted and used by horticulturists.

Also called porcelain berry, porcelain vine has dark green, edgy leaves that are shiny underneath and grow on the stem in an alternating manner. Resembling a heart shape, the leaf has three to five points that are sometimes deeply dissected. During summer, porcelain vine’s green-white flowers bloom in clusters. A 0.25-inch (0.6-cm) berry surfaces in the fall that is either white to yellow, purple, or sky blue in color. These berries are edible and bear two to four seeds.

Climbing in tendrils, porcelain vine is often confused with the native grape Vitis and other species of Ampelopsis, such as Ampelopsis arborea and Ampelopsis cordata. Unlike grapes, though, porcelain vine’s bark does not peel or shred. Its central stem is white, while that of the grape’s is brown.

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Seeds of porcelain vine germinate rapidly, and they can be dispersed through the droppings of birds and other animals that eat its colorful berries. Sightings of the plant on riverbanks and shorelines suggest that its seeds are often spread by water as well. Porcelain vine grows quickly, especially during rainy days, reaching up to 20 feet (6 m). Its main root is large and vigorous, and its above-ground parts resprout only when cut.

This vine’s preferable spot to grow is one that has full to moderate sunlight access. The plant is commonly found in pond margins, riverbanks, and woodland edges. Porcelain vines are pest-resistant and can tolerate adverse conditions, though they can be very invasive and uncontrollable, as the plant reproduces by itself through seeds, stems, and roots. As it grows, it climbs over small plants to block their source of light, strip their nutrients, and consume their spots. It has been reported as invasive in at least 12 United States regions, including Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

When infestation occurs, manually pulling the vines while applying a systemic herbicide has proved effective. Pulling the vines manually in the fall or spring can interrupt the formation of flower buds; doing so will also prevent the plants from bearing fruits. Plants that are pulled while bearing fruit should be put in a bag before disposing.

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anon312929
Post 5

Most sources report this as an invasive, non-edible species.

healthy4life
Post 4

The berries all seem to start out white and then change colors with time. I've never heard of people eating the berries, but if you want to attract squirrels and birds to your yard, this is a great flowering vine plant to have.

I already had trees in my yard, so birds and squirrels frequently kept to the high branches. After my vine started producing berries, though, I saw a lot more of the creatures up close. They came down and snacked on them or took them up to their nests.

feasting
Post 3

I try to avoid planting perennial flowering vines like this, because they just grow too quickly. They tend to take over everything in their path, and I have a host of other plants in my yard that I want to keep alive.

kylee07drg
Post 2

@wavy58 – Porcelain berry vine does have several colors of berries growing on one plant. It is the most amazing thing, and it reminds me of ornaments on a Christmas tree!

My sister has some of these fast growing vines in her yard, and I have seen as many as four different shades of berries on one section of the vine. White, pink, blue, and purple were literally right next to each other.

wavy58
Post 1

Climbing vine plants are my favorite! I've never heard of the porcelain vine before, and I'm intrigued.

Does one vine produce the same color of berries all over, or can you have multiple colors on one vine? I've never seen a plant that had different colors of berries.

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