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P. quinquefolia is a prolific deciduous climbing vine, reaching heights of 20–30 m (66–98 ft) in the wild. It climbs smooth surfaces using small forked tendrils tipped with small strongly adhesive pads 5 mm in size. The leaves are palmately compound, composed of five leaflets (rarely three leaflets, particularly on younger vines) joined from a central point on the leafstalk, and range from 3 to 20 cm (rarely 30 cm) across. The leaflets have a toothed margin. This one shows the beautiful red fall foliage.
Native to eastern and central North America, in southeastern Canada, the eastern and central United States, eastern Mexico, and Guatemala, west as far as Manitoba, South Dakota, Utah and Texas. This one was photographed in a maritime forest at Huntington Beach State Park near Murrells Inlet, SC.
Native Americans used the plant as an herbal remedy for diarrhea, difficult urination, swelling, and lockjaw.