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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Woodbine - Parthenocissus vitacea
Other Names:  Parthenocisus inserta

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3S4
(see State Rank Reason below)
C-value: 4

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Parthenocissus vitacea is found scattered in eastern and south-central Montana with a location also documented in Ravalli County. This native vine grows in woody draws and in riparian habitat along streams and adjacent lawns and pastures. Woody draws can be over-used by livestock and in urban areas people may wonder if this plant is invading their lawns. Overall, populations appear to be stable. As an attractive vine that is native to Montana it provides a better landscaping alternative than its introduced relative, Parthenocissus quinquefolia. Current data on locations, population sizes, and threats are needed.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Woodbine (Parthenocissus vitacea) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 08/13/2020
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Range Extent

    ScoreF - 20,000-200,000 sq km (~8,000-80,000 sq mi)

    Comment152,190 square kilometers.

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreD - 6-25 4-km2 grid cells

    CommentMontana can be divided into 30,390 4x4 square kilometer cells. For this species plant observations occur in 19 of these 4x4 square kilometer cells.

    Number of Populations

    ScoreC - 21 - 80

    Comment22 observations representing discrete locations.

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreC - Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce

    CommentPlants are found in urban and rural areas, but along streams and moist areas which are a more limited habitat in Montana.


    ScoreD - Low

    CommentOne observation reported plant as "invading lawns"; however, it is unknown if any land management action occurred. Its habitat of woody draws can be negatively impacted by if overused by livestock.

General Description
PLANTS: Woody vines with tendrils. Tendrils are 3- to 5-branched, lack adhesive disks, and are oppositely arranged in the upper leaf axils. Source: Lesica et al. 2012.

LEAVES: Alternately arranged on branches. Leaf blade is palmately divided into 5 leaflets. Leaflets are 5, narrowly obovate in shape, with sparse hairs (glabrate), 3–10 cm long. Source: Lesica et al. 2012.

INFLORESCENCE: A dichotomously branched, hemispheric panicle that arises from the leaf axils. Flowers with reduced sepals and 5 distinct greenish to reddish petals of 2–3 mm long. Berry is 6–10 mm wide. Sources: Lesica et al. 2012; Wen in Flora of North America [FNA] 2016.

Parthenocissus comes from the Greek words Parthenos meaning 'virgin' and kissos meaning 'ivy'.

Flowering from may to June and fruiting from August to September (Wen in FNA 2016).

Diagnostic Characteristics
In Montana species of the Grape Family (Vitaceae) can be separated by the degree of lobing in the leaf. Grapes (Vitis) have single leaves with shallow lobes while Woodbines and Virginia Creepers (Parthenocissus) have a single leaf palmately divided into distinct leaflets.

Montana has 2 Parthenocissus species:

Woodbine - Parthenocissus vitacea, native and desireable
*Tendrils: Without an adhesive disc. Look closely where it attaches to a substrate.
*Inflorescence: Panicle is dichotomously branched.

Virginia Creeper - Parthenocissus quinquefolia, exotic
*Tendrils: With an adhesive disc. Look closely where it attaches to a substrate. Discs are easily broken off unless carefully remove.
*Inflorescence: Panicle has a central axis.

Range Comments
British Columbia to Quebec in Canada south to California, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Midwest and eastern U.S., but apparently not in the southeast U.S. (Wen in FNA 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 19

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

In Montana plants grow in riparian forests in the plains (Lesica et al. 2012).

Reproductive Characteristics
Plants reproduce by seed.

Unisexual, perfect, hypogynous, and 5-merous. Sepals are reduced and obscurely lobed. Petals are 5, separate, and 2-3 mm long. Stamens are 5. Pistil has a superior ovary with 1 style.

Fruit is a berry. Berry is round and 2-celled with 2 seeds per cell.

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 2016. Flora of North America north of Mexico, Vol. 12. Magnoliophyta: Vitaceae to Garryaceae. Oxford University Press, Inc. New York.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
    • Wood, A.K. 1987. Ecology of a prairie mule deer population. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 205 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Woodbine — Parthenocissus vitacea.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from