Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) is an invasive woody vine in the grape family from northeast Asia. Since its introduction to the United States in 1870 as an ornamental, it has invaded moist soils and forest edges in twelve states in the northeast including New York.
With the ability to climb over 15 feet in a growing season, porcelain berry easily creates mats of thick twining vines which smother native vegetation. If established in residential or commercial areas, it is difficult to remove from fences, porches, and buildings and can incur costs for property owners.
Leaves of porcelain berry vary in shape from a simple heart-shaped leaf with coarse teeth, to a deeply lobed leaf with rigid edges. Flowers are green to white and form in small clusters in mid-summer. Fruit are small berries that can range in color from purple to blue and have a shine to them similar to porcelain–hence the name.
A combination of mechanical and chemical methods is most effective. Large vines must be cut near the ground and treated with a chemical herbicide or repeated cutting must occur. Garlon 3A, Garlon 4, as well as Roundup and Rodeo, have been used successfully. All courses of treatment should be completed before fruiting occurs to avoid building a seed bank. Herbicide applied in the fall will draw the treatment to the roots more effectively.
Photo collage: top and bottom left phots, and bottom right photo taken by Megan Pistolese-SLELO PRISM, all others in the collage are credited to Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Bark comparison photo credit: Frank Hassler, Good Oak Ecological Services