Monday, July 02, 2012

Distinguishing Porcelain Berry and Grape

One invasive exotic vine that is exploding in its prevalence around Princeton is the porcelain berry. It does an all too convincing imitation of kudzu's growth pattern, smothering other vegetation. Porcelain berry is an Asian species and its leaves can easily be confused with our native grapes. In this photo, the deeply lobed leaf of porcelain berry is above the grape leaf.
From top to bottom in this photo, Virginia creeper (a native vine with five leaflets), porcelain berry in the middle, and a grape leaf below. I've heard that the pith of the porcelain berry's stem is white, while that of grape is brown.

The berries of porcelain berry are bright shades of blue, red and white. Cutting the stems at the ground, before the seeds mature, is one way to keep this species from taking over. It really helps to catch this species early, before it has become established and spread into nearby areas.

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