Hiker's Guide to the Trees, Shrubs,

and Woody Vines of Ricketts Glen State Park


Fifth Edition -- Internet Version



Introduction References Leaf Types Leaf Arrangements Leaf Edges Identification Key Descriptions Species List
Vines Ground Covers Trees with Needle-Leaves Trees and Shrubs with Opposite and Simple Leaves Trees and Shrubs with Opposite and Compound Leaves Trees and Shrubs with Alternate and Compound Leaves Trees and Shrubs with Alternate and Simple Leaves


Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)  DO NOT TOUCH ANY PART OF THE PLANT

Climbing vine, sometimes erect-shrubby (2 - 5 ft). Leaves 4 - 14 in; pinnately compound, composed of three leaflets with few, irregular, large teeth; alternate. Flowers in clusters, yellowish. Clustered fruits are white when mature. The sap found in all parts of this plant cause contact dermatitis (extreme skin irritation) and should be avoided. The sap contains an oil called urushiol, which is actually a mixture of allergenic catechols. Rarely encountered in the Park, a few small plants were seen on the lower part of Old Bulldozer Road Trail. Since poison ivy often occurs in disturbed habitats, look for it where there is heavy human use of the Park.

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus cinquefolia)

Climbing vine. Leaves 3 - 8 in; palmately compound, usually composed of five leaflets (hence the epithet cinquefolia); alternate. Tendrils ending in an adhesive disk. Often mistaken for Poison Ivy, which has  pinnately compound leaflets. Seen on the lower part of the Falls Trail on trees in moist areas.

Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia)

Climbing vine. Leaves 2 - 9 in; shiny; simple and alternate. Tendrils found on two successive nodes (part of stem where leaves or tendrils arise), with every third node lacking a tendril. Flowers May - July. Fruits blue-black, with a bloom (August to September). Seen only on the lower part of the Falls Trail, near Rt. 118, draping over small trees and shrubs; and on the lowest part of the Grand View trail, near Rt. 487.

Common Greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia)

Climbing vine. Leaves 2 - 5 in; simple and alternate. Stems rounded to angled, with stout prickles. Flowers April - August. Fruits black (October through the winter), most with 2 seeds. Seen climbing on tree trunks and limbs along the lower part of the Falls Trail, the Ganoga View Trail, and the Old Bulldozer Road Trail below Valley View.

Purple Clematis (Clematis occidentalis = C. verticillaris)

Climbing vine, or creeping over moist soil or rocks. Leaves 3 - 7 in; compound with three leaflets, and opposite. The petiolules (leaflet stalks) twist when climbing. Stems rounded to angled, with stout prickles. Flowers purplish, late April - June. Fruits are dry and whispy-feathery, July - August. Seen climbing on rocks near the dam at Lake Leigh.


Next Page Previous Page

Return to the Ricketts Glen Home Page


Updated 15 September 2015.