Parthenocissus tricuspidata is a flowering
plant in the grape family (Vitaceae) native to eastern
Asia in Japan, Korea, and northern and eastern China.
Though unrelated to true ivy, it is commonly known
Japanese creeper, Boston ivy, Grape ivy, Japanese
ivy, and woodbine (though the latter may refer to
a number of vines).
It is a deciduous woody vine growing to 30 m
tall or more given suitable support, attaching itself
by means of numerous small branched tendrils tipped
with sticky disks. The leaves are simple, palmately
lobed with three lobes, occasionally unlobed or
with five lobes, or sufficiently deeply lobed to
be palmately compound with (usually) three leaflets;
the leaves range from 5–22 cm across.
The flowers are inconspicuous, greenish, in clusters;
the fruit is a small dark blue grape 5–10 mm
Like the related Virginia creeper, it is widely
grown as a climbing ornamental plant to cover the
façades of masonry buildings. Its use for
this in Boston, Massachusetts, United States has
resulted in one of the alternative names. This usage
is actually economically important because, by shading
walls during the summer, it can significantly reduce
It is readily distinguished from Virginia creeper
by the simple leaves (always palmately compound
with 5 leaflets in Virginia creeper).
The plant secretes calcium carbonate, which serves
as an adhesive pad and gives it the ability to attach
itself to a wall without requiring any additional
support. While it does not penetrate the building
surface but merely attaches to it, nevertheless
damage can occur from attempting to rip the plant
from the wall. However, if the plant is killed first,
such as by severing the vine from the root, the
adhesive pads will eventually deteriorate to the
point where the plant can be easily removed without
causing any damage to the wall.