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Ampelopsis arborea

Vitaceae

Pepper vine (Ampelopsis arborea) is also known as Ampelopsis, Pinnate Leaved Ampelopsis, Cow Vine, and Wild Sarsaparilla. It is a sprawling or climbing vine with tendrils. The pith is white and continuous through nodes. The leaves are alternate and double or triple odd pinnate compound leaves. The leaves at the ends of the branches are red; especially so in early spring. Some plants display a two-colored leaf in early spring: reddish and cream or tan. The flowers are very small, greenish white or yellowish and in cymes on long stalks from the main stem of branchlets. The berries are in compact groups, green at first, then white to pink, and finally, shiny black when mature, usually with small raised dots on the outside. There are differing opinions as to edibility of the berries; some report the fruits as poisonous and others as edible. It is found in a wide variety of habitats from upland fencerows on moist sites to winter-flooded bottomlands throughout Louisiana. Caterpillars of nine moth species are reported to eat Ampelopsis including five sphinx. Quite a bit on Allen Acres. There are species of Ampelopsis with simple leaves including the native cordata and non-native brevipedunculata.