A native of northeast Asia, porcelain berry is a member of the grape family and was introduced to the United States in the late 1800s as a landscaping plant.
Porcelain berry is a deciduous, woody, perennial vine. It twines with the help of non-adhesive tendrils that occur opposite the leaves and closely resemble native grapes in the genus Vitis. Porcelain berry grows well in most soils, especially on forest edges, pond margins, stream banks, thickets, and waste places, where there is full sunlight to partial shade, and where it is not permanently wet. Porcelain berry appears to be less tolerant of heavily shaded areas, such as that found in mature forest interiors.
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 riparian areas downstream from established patches, suggesting they may also be dispersed by water. The taproot 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 feet 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 seed production will help reduce its spread.
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 or disposed of at the town composting facility. The 'cut-and-dab' herbicide method may be useful in deterring more profaned growth. Foliar spray is not recommended as it can be harmful to the surrounding floura and fauna. See the invasive removal page for how to carry out these methods. Any removal within 100 feet of wetland resource areas, including certified vernal pools, or within 200 feet of a perennial stream may require approval from the Concord Natural Resources Commission. Please contact the Division of Natural Resources before you begin.
The following native plants can serve as a good replacement for Porcelain berry in a garden: