Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (Maxim.) Trautv.
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (Maxim.) Trautv. var. maximowiczii (Regel) Rehder
Ampelopsis heterophylla (Thunb.) Siebold & Zucc.
Porcelain Berry, Amur Peppervine, Porcelain-berry
Porcelain berry fascinates me, with its profusion of variously-colored berries looking just a little too much like a variety of pebble-shaped rock candy I enjoyed as a child. It is native to China, Korea, Japan and Russian Far East. It was introduced to North America, where it has become naturalized. Unfortunately it is a very vigorous grower, and is considered invasive in many locales. It prefers rich, moist soils.
Plants: Plants are deciduous woody perennial vines, resembling grapes in vine and leaf structure and sheer vitality. It grows to 15-20' (4.6-6.1 m) in size. Young twigs are hairy. If you cut a branch in half, the interior styrofoam-like pith is white. Porcelaln berry bark does not peel, while grape bark does.
Leaves: Leaves are alternate, simple, with 3 (sometimes 5) lobes that are further divided and coarsely toothed, up to 5" (12 cm) long. They are dark green, and shiny beneath, with hairs on the leaf veins. Non-adhesive tendrils at the base of each leaf permit it to climb over other plants. Leaf stems are hairy.
Flowers: Insignificant flat-topped clusters of tiny greenish-white flowers appear in June-August.
Fruits: Fruits are berries in an amazing range of pastel or sometimes deeper colors: green, blue, purple, pink, white or yellow, with black or brown speckles. The colors occur together on the same plant, and even in the same cluster, and they mature to a bright turquoise blue. Berries are ⅛-¼" (4-8 mm) in diameter.
Edibility: Leaves and stems can be cooked, and the fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. It is not very palatable.
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata on plants.ces.ncsu.edu
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species list
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata on the University of Massachusetts Landscape, Nursery & Urban Forestry Program
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Oct 2018.
Range: Zones 4-8: