Comprehensive Description

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Description

This native perennial plant is a woody vine up to 20' long. Its stems can twine about fences and adjacent vegetation and they branch occasionally. These stems are initially green or dull red, but they eventually turn brown and woody. Young stems are sparsely pubescent, terete or angular, and they become somewhat enlarged at the petiole bases. The opposite leaves are primarily trifoliate, although some of them are simple. The petioles of these leaves (whether simple or compound) are up to 2" long; they are green or dull red and sparsely pubescent, like the stems. The leaflets and simple leaves are up to 4" long and 2" across; they are ovate, dentate or shallowly cleft along their margins, and mostly glabrous. However, the undersides of the leaves or leaflets are sometimes slightly pubescent, especially along the major veins. The upper surfaces of leaves and leaflets are yellowish green to dark green, while their lower surfaces are pale green with elevated major veins. The petiolules (basal stalklets) of the leaflets are similar to the petioles, except they are shorter. The petiolule of the terminal leaflet is longer than those of the lateral leaflets.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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