Porcelain Berry


Porcelain berry is a deciduousa shrub or tree which sheds its leaves annually, woody, perenniala plant whose growth dies down annually but whose roots or other underground parts survive vine. It twines with the help of non-adhesive tendrilsa slender threadlike appendage of a climbing plant, often growing in a spiral form, that stretches out and twines around any suitable support that occur opposite the leaves to a height of 15-20 feet. The stem pith of porcelain berry is white (grape is brown) and continuous across the nodes (grape is not), the bark has lenticels (grape does not), and the bark does not peel (grape bark peels or shreds). The leaves are alternate, broadly ovate with a heart-shaped base, palmately 3-5 lobed or more deeply dissected, and have coarsely toothed margins. The inconspicuous, greenish-white flowers with "free" petals occur in cymes opposite the leaves from June through August (in contrast to grape species that have flowers with petals that touch at tips and occur in panicles. The fruits appear in September-October and are colorful, changing from pale lilac, to green, to a bright blue.


Ampelopsis glandulosa prefers moist, rich soils and can thrive in a wide range of light availability but prefers abundant sunlight. It can often be found in anthropogenicenvironmental change caused or influenced by people, either directly or indirectly and disturbed habitats, forest edges, forests, marshes, shores of rivers or lakes.

History and Introduction

Porcelain berry was originally cultivated around the 1870s as a bedding and landscape plant. In spite of its aggressiveness in some areas, it is still used in the horticultural trade. 

The same characteristics that make porcelain berry a desirable plant for the garden—its colorful berries, good ground coverage, trellis-climbing vines, pest-resistance, and tolerance of adverse conditions—are responsible for its presence in the United States as an undesirable invader.


Porcelain berry is a vigorous invader of open and wooded habitats, streambanks, pond margins, forest edges and other disturbed areas. It grows and spreads quickly in areas with high to moderate light. As it spreads, it climbs over shrubs and other vegetation, shading out native shrubs, plants, and young trees and consuming the native habitat. 

Dispersal Methods

Porcelain berry spreads by seed and through vegetative means. The colorful fruits, each with two to four seeds, attract birds and other small animals that eat the berries and disperse the seeds in their droppings. The seeds of porcelain berry germinate readily to start new infestations. Porcelain berry is often found growing in riparianthe area immediately adjacent to running freshwater areas downstream from established patches, suggesting they may be dispersed by water also. The taproota large, central, and dominant root from which other roots sprout laterally of porcelain berry is large and vigorous. Resprouting will occur in response to cutting of above-ground portions.


Because porcelain berry vines can grow up to 15 ft. in a single growing season, especially when rainfall is abundant, and seed may be viable in the soil for several years, effective control requires dedicated follow-up. Treatment measures often must be repeated during the growing season and for several years afterwards to fully eradicate the plant. Prevention of flowering, fruiting and production of mature seeds will help reduce its spread.

Manual Removal

Hand pulling of vines in the fall or spring will prevent flower buds from forming the following season. Where feasible, plants should be pulled up by hand before fruiting to prevent the production and dispersal of seeds. If the plants are pulled while in fruit, the fruits should be bagged and disposed of in a landfill. For vines too large to pull out, cut them near the ground and either treat cut stems with systemic herbicide or repeat cutting of regrowth as needed. 

Chemical Removal

Chemical control in combination with manual and mechanical methods is effective and likely to be necessary for large infestations. The systemic herbicides triclopyrherbicide used to control both broadleaf and woody plants (e.g., Garlon® 3A and Garlon® 4) and glyphosatea widely used herbicide that can kill certain weeds and grasses, it works by blocking an enzyme essential for plant growth (e.g., Roundup® and Rodeo®) have been used successfully by many practitioners.

Foliar Application

The most effective control has been achieved using triclopyr formulations. From summer to fall, apply a water-based solution of 2.5% Garlon® 3A (triclopyr amine) to foliage or cut plants first, allow time for regrowth and then apply the mixture. Smaller infestations can be controlled to some extent with spot applications of glyphosate to leaves, used sparingly to avoid contact of desirable plants with spray. Cut the vines back during the summer and allow to resprout before applying herbicide, or apply glyphosate to leaves in early autumn, just prior to senescence. 

Basal Bark Application

Apply a mixture of 20-30% Garlon® 4 (triclopyr ester) mixed with commercially available basal oil, horticultural oil, diesel fuel, No. 1 or No. 2 fuel oil, or kerosene, to 2 - 3 ft. long sections of stem near the base of the vines.

Porcelain Berry Leaves

Porcelain Berry Leaves

Scientific Name

Ampelopsis glandulosa (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)

Other Nicknames

Creeper, Amur Peppervine, Wild Grape, Porcelain Vine

Native Area

China, Japan, India, parts of South Eastern Asia

Similar Species

Heart-Leaved Peppervine (Ampelopsis cordata); Native Grapevines (Vitis spp.)

The easiest way to differentiate between Porcelain Berry and Vitis is to look at the fruits once fruiting begins in September. The fruits of porcelain-berry are speckled, and all shades of blues, pinks, purples, greens, and white, with one vine usually displaying several different colors. Native grapes are green or purple and are not speckled. When identification with fruits is not possible, cut open a twig and look at the color of the pith (the central region inside of a twig). Native grapevines have brown piths while porcelain-berry has a white pith. 

View Porcelain Berry Flyer (Printable PDF)

Porcelain Berry Fruit

Porcelain Berry

Porcelain Berry Vines

Porcelain Berry Vines

Native Grapevine

Native Grapevine

Porcelain Berry Berries

Porcelain Berry Berries

Porcelain Berry Leaves - Pancrat, Wikimedia Commons | Porcelain Berry Fruit - Cbaile19, Wikimedia Commons  | Native Grapevine- PxHere | Porcelain Berry Vines - BotBln, Wikimedia Commons | Porcelain Berry Berries- Josconklin, Wikimedia Commons