The Peppervine


Although often mistaken for poison ivy, it isn’t; in fact the peppervine ((Ampelopsis arborea) is related to the grape family. You’ll find it growing along fence rows, climbing trees, perhaps even (surreptitiously) in your garden. Birds and deer spread the seeds, so it is transported from the wild into suburbia. While the berries aren’t poisonous, they contain tiny needles of calcium oxalate, which will result in chemical burns in the throat after excessive consumption, which seems to vary from person-to-person. There are tales of “peppervine wine”, but after sampling a few, that doesn’t sound like such a great idea.