UBC Botanical Garden’s Curator of Collections, Douglas Justice, wrote the foundation of today’s entry. I’ve made a few edits to adapt his text for Botany Photo of the Day:
Parthenocissus comes from parthenos meaning “virgin” and kissos (“ivy”). It refers to the English common name of the eastern American Virginia creeper or Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia was named for Queen Elizabeth I, the “Virgin Queen”). Parthenocissus is a genus of about 10 species of climbing plants that climb by means of leaf tendrils that either twine or have adhesive pads (Daniel: for more on the adhesive pads, see the previous entry on Parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘Robusta’).
The main attraction of Parthenocissus thomsonii is its five-fingered leaves, which are bronzy-purple in spring turning glossy green at maturity and deep red in the fall. The fruits are black. This Asian climber was collected in Assam (India) in 1900 by E. H. Wilson and later introduced by him from China. It is similar to the more common Parthenocissus henryana, but differs in its leaves, which lack central silver markings, and in having tendrils that only branch in pairs (Parthenocissus henryana along with most other Parthenocissus species have multi-branched tendrils). Flora of China places Parthenocissus thomsonii in a different genus (Yua) on account of this difference in tendril characteristics.
Daniel: These are photographs from the David C. Lam Asian Garden. You’ll note in the second image that the Parthenocissus is smothering the western hemlock it is using for support, so the vine will likely be cut down to the ground this winter as part of the Garden’s aggressive vine management policy.