Good Vines vs. Bad Vines
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Good Vines vs. Bad Vines

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 without containment.

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.

  Crossvine (Bignonia 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.

Posted by Zoo Info at 2:45 PM