Hover over images for detail:Porcelain-berry in early autumn

Although porcelain-berry has overwhelmed a park in Cincinnati, Ohio, this vine is a relatively new invasive to Long Island. It is similar in appearance to our New England grape with twining tendrils, except that the pith (center of the vine) of porcelain-berry is solid white; its mature bark often separates from the pith; the woody vines are very flexible; the berry colors may be white, yellow, lilac, turquoise, green or pink, eventually turning dark blue; the leaves are generally smaller with deep lobes; and the best indicator: the underside of the porcelain berry leaf is always glossy.

The leaf at the right is one of two cotyledons; The underside of true porcelain-berry leaves are glossy.

While the  first two small leaves (cotyledons), which appear from seed, are egg-shaped with a tapering point and widest near the petiole or stem, the first true leaves resemble New England grape, but with a glossy underside.

PB Vines in April along Rt. 25A in Brookville, NY

Porcelain-berry vines are deciduous, since they drop their leaves in late fall. They can be easily spotted alongside high trafficked roads.

Porcelain-berry flowers in late spring

When vines are cut above ground they may be placed on a tarp, tree or shrub to dry. However, once in bloom or with berries, the vines and berries must be removed and disposed as trash.

Pulling porcelain-berry vines from a tree in late summer

While cutting vines at the ground is the first step to achieve control, porcelain-berry should then be uprooted with the appropriate method shown below.

Young porcelain-berry root

Young vines thicken for about two inches above the ground. These vines are easily removed by grabbing low on this thickened portion with a pair of linesman’s 8-inch pliers, using a back and forth pulling motion, ideally in damp soil, while visualizing the root as it releases.

Large linesman’s pliers and leveraged hand weeder for young plants

Older porcelain-berry root crown with laterals and small vine

At the next growth stage, the thick portion becomes the root crown, which must be dug out — using a leveraged hand weeder for small roots, or with a shovel, pick-axe, mattock, or Pulaski axe for larger roots. Then the exposed crown may be extracted with  large pliers or weed wrench and the severed lateral roots removed.

A Pulaski axe was used here

12 foot root of porcelain-berry vine with crown at Kate’s shoulder

The lateral roots are reddish brown, knotty/rubbery, and the root bark easily separates from the core or pith. But because severed roots may send up suckers  all flexible (live) parts must be allowed to dry above ground or safely bagged/discarded, and the site routinely monitored.

Vines include Zig-zag porcelain-berry in winter

Older porcelain-berry vines can be identified in mid winter by the straw colored zigzag vine with curly tendrils at the nodes. During a winter thaw, dig out the root crown  with a pick or Pulaski axe and pull lateral roots with the linesman’s pliers or weed wrench.

New growth from a root crown in April after cutting vines at the ground in the prior year.

Check on regrowth monthly and, with linesman pliers, remove suckers and new seedlings in the area as they emerge. Cut and cover roots with a tarp at the ground to prevent regrowth. Place cut vines and roots on top of the tarp to dry.

Click Restoration to view an invasion of this plant at a local park.

Save Native Plants…Remove Invasive Species