This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A correspondent of Mr. Robinson's Gardening Illustrated, writes as follows of our Ampelopsis. We do not think these distinctions have been noted in American nurseries, but they are worth looking into:
" I know of two varieties or species of this popular foliage plant, one worth growing, the other not. The latter is by far the most rampant grower, and any bit of it stuck in the ground will grow, while it produces a plentiful crop of suckers from the roots. It never assumes the splendid color of the other, but turns a little brownish-red or purplish before the leaves fall. The two kinds are quite distinct in appearance when planted out, but when grown in pots under shelter, the worthless sort when young is so like the other as to be very difficult to distinguish.
" In the good kind the leaflets droop on all sides from the central point; the expansion of each leaflet also droops slightly from the midrib, so that a section across the leaflet would resemble the form used in common wood engravings to represent flying birds ~~, the junction of the two curved lines being the midrib.
"In the worthless variety the leaves have a stiffer, sturdier look, and if cut across the midrib would generally resemble a wide letter V, the midrib being at the bottom of a channel when seen from the upper sides; one or two very large leaves may occasionally assume the same habit as the other kind; the leaflets are also much narrower and more pointed, the form resembling that of a racing cutter, while that of the other is like that of a fishing smack; or the first is in foliage like the rose-flowered Horse Chestnut, or the leaflets like the Spanish Chestnut, while the good variety is like the wild Blackberry, only not quite so wide in the leaflets. The worthless kind will extend its covering 4 or 5 feet in a season when the plant is large; the other is not nearly so rampant. I I have never seen it increase more than 2 feet, but my experience only covers plants in town gardens, where they were growing at a disadvantage. It is also much more slender in growth, that is, the stems are thinner and weaker; the plant itself, not producing the long straggling growth of the other kind with leaves at distant intervals, is much more compact-looking, that being the chief difference visible at a casual glance.
" The only way to avoid getting the wrong sort is to order plants from a first-class nursery which has a world-wide reputation to lose."