A poisonous vine that climbs to 60 feet high, trailing or climbing by aerial roots. Sometimes it appears as a low, upright shrub.
Leaves alternate, compound, with 3 leaflets (“leaves of 3, let it be”) that are variable in size and shape; the end (center) leaflet has a stalk ½-1¾ inches long, which is longer than the stalks on the other 2 leaflets; side leaflets have unequal sides.
Stems are light brown, hairy, with raised pores, climbing by aerial rootlets. Stems trail until they find support; lacking support, they assume an erect, shrublike posture with single stems.
Flowers May-June, with clusters 1–4 inches long on new growth of stems. Flowers are small, greenish-white and fragrant.
Fruit ripens August-November, berries in grapelike clusters, persistent, about ¼ inch across, creamy white, waxy, globe-shaped, usually smooth.