At the Memphis Zoo, the Horticulture Staff are constantly
pulling weeds. Some of those weeds are vines and some are very bad.
The worst is Poison
Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). When P.I. is spotted at
the Zoo, it is promptly removed. We do our utmost to not allow it to grow in
areas where animals or guests are located. We do have several other vines that
people sometimes think are P.I. Remember
the rhyme of “leaves of three, stay away from me.” That will be your first
indication: that P.I. has three leaves.
Here are some good vines you will see at the Zoo. Sometimes
we do remove them if they are unsightly.
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus
quinquefolia) has five leaves in its compound leaf. It also is
propagated through runners underground. It crawls up trees and can choke trees
Pepper Vine (Ampelopsis
arborea (L.) Koehne) is another vine that is a very fast growing
vine with compound leaflets. The fruit is highly desired by wildlife.
capreolata L) is in the trumpet creeper vine family. It blooms early
April. It is a great floral vine to grow along fence rows. We have several
areas with large vines of Crossvine. The leaves are opposite and four to six
inches in length. The flowers are trumpet shaped and cover the vines.
Grape Vine (Vitis
sp.)_uses tendrils as above ground roots. They “grab” onto other plants for
support. The yellow flowers are very small and bloom from May to June. The
fruit is a great source of food for wildlife. The bark is gray and sometimes
shreddy. Many of our keepers use grape vine for supports in many exhibits.
Passion Flower Vine (Passiflora
incarnata L.) is a perennial vine that is native to the eastern
United States. It grows vigorously throughout the year up to 25 feet. The
leaves have three lobes with tendrils clasping onto structures for support.
Honeysuckle Vine is a valuable plant throughout the zoo. We
have planted Lonicera
sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’,
an evergreen honeysuckle that lures hummingbirds on their migration. It begins
blooming in March and continues through the first frost. The vine can grow up
to 25 feet but can be trimmed back to keep under control.
On your next visit to the Memphis Zoo, see how many good
vines you can locate. Enjoy your day at the Zoo.