This description covers characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g., [7,22,37,45,49]).
Aboveground: Porcelainberry is a deciduous liana that typically grows to lengths of 10 to 25 feet (3-7.6 m) but occasionally longer (reviews by [16,20,56,70]). Tendrils develop opposite the stem leaves and enable porcelainberry to climb suitable structures ([44,50], reviews by [13,16,56,70]). Gerrath  described the leaf-opposed structures on porcelainberry as elongated inflorescences, rather than tendrils, that have dual functions of support and reproduction. Porcelainberry's leaves are about 4 inches wide and 5 inches long (9 × 12 cm) , sometimes smaller (reviews by [16,70]), and are typically dark green but may also be variegated (reviews by [2,13,16]). Flowers are small and inconspicuous, 1 to 2 mm in diameter (review by ), and borne on a cyme ([21,45], reviews by [16,70]). Porcelainberry fruits are about 0.2 inch (review by ) to 0.33 inch (reviews by [13,16,56]) (5-8 mm) in diameter and come in several colors including bright blue, yellow, and purple (reviews by [11,13,16,56]).
Belowground: As of 2009, information pertaining to porcelainberry's belowground structures was found only in species fact sheets and reviews and was highly generalized. Reviews describe porcelainberry's root system as "extensive"  with a "large and vigorous" taproot [63,77]. Stalter and others  indicated that porcelainberry produces "sucker shoots" but no details were provided. Porcelainberry roots often merge with the roots of associated shrubs or other vegetation .
Stand structure: Porcelainberry vines can dominate the vegetation by forming a uniform "blanket" over shrubs, trees, and the ground, especially on forest edges ([3,76], reviews by [14,47]). In New York, porcelainberry maintained well over 100% combined cover with Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) on some sites . In another New York location, porcelainberry had an average cover of 13% but its cover was 28% when only open canopy sites were considered . In a Washington DC park, porcelainberry climbed trees with diameters of up to 4 inches (10 cm) and was able to climb larger diameter trees and ascend into their crowns by attaching to other vine species adapted to climb larger trees .
Porcelainberry is a vigorous invader of open and wooded habitats where it shades out native shrubs and young trees. As it spreads, it climbs over and blankets existing plants and weakens and kills them by blocking sunlight.
As of this writing (2009), little had been reported on seedling establishment in procelainberry. In one study , researchers counted 700 porcelainberry seedlings in a 1-m² plot underneath a cluster of porcelainberry. During a 2-year grassland study in Japan, porcelainberry seedlings emerged infrequently, averaging only 1.5 seedlings/m² during the 1st year and 0.1 seedlings/m² in the 2nd year. The maximum number of seedlings produced in any one plot was 4 .
Reviews generally describe porcelainberry as a rapid grower [16,40,54,70], but details about its growth are lacking. One review indicated that in North America, porcelainberry may grow 15 to 20 feet (4.6-6.1 m) in a single growing season; however, this is considered an exception .
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (syn.Vitis heterophyllaThunb.), the porcelain berry, is an ornamental plant, native to temperate areas of Asia. It is generally similar to, and potentially confused with, grape species (genus Vitis) and other Ampelopsis species.
^Ampelopsins A, B and C, new oligostilbenes of Ampelopsis brevipedunculata var hancei. Yoshiteru Oshima, Yuji Ueno and Hiroshi Hikino, Tetrahedron, volume 45, Issue 15, 1990, pages 5121-5126, doi:10.1016/S0040-4020(01)87819-4
Porcelain-berry is a deciduous, woody, perennial vine. It twines with the help of non-adhesive tendrils that occur opposite the leaves and closely resembles native grapes in the genus Vitis. 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 Ieaves 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. Porcelain-berry is often confused with species of grape (Vitis) and may be confused with several native species of Ampelopsis -- Ampelopsis arborea and Ampelopsis cordata.
Porcelainberry seed is dispersed by birds (, reviews by [13,56]) and other small animals (review by ). White-tailed deer eat its fruit and may also disperse porcelainberry seed . Porcelainberry fruits float (review by ), and it has been speculated that its seed may be dispersed by water , which may provide another mechanism for long-range dispersal (review by ).
Plant: deciduous, woody, perennial vine that resembles grape and climbs by non-adhesive tendrils at the base of each leaf; grows to 15-20 ft.; young twigs are usually pubescent; stem pith is white (grape is tan or brown) and is continuous across the nodes (except for V. rotundifolia, grape is interrupted by a diaphragm across the node); bark is dotted with lenticels and does not peel (grape bark lacks lenticels and peels or shreds).
Leaves: alternate, simple, 3-5 lobed to highly dissected with heart-shaped base and coarsely toothed margins, shiny underneath with hairs on veins.
Flowers, fruits and seeds: tiny, greenish-white flowers with petals separate at their tips occur in flat-topped clusters opposite the leaves; appear in summer (June through August); fruit is a speckled berry in colors ranging from aqua to pink to purple; each berry carries 2-4 seeds.
Spreads: by seed that is eaten by birds and other small animals and dispersed in their droppings.
Look-alikes: native species of grape (Vitis) and peppervine (Ampelopsis) including heartleaf peppervine (Ampelopsis cordata) which is native to the Southeast and has unlobed leaves and smooth (hairless) stems; other native Ampelopsis have compound leaves.