Peppervine ~ Common but Delightful


Before I became seriously addicted to bird photography and focused primarily on our feathered friends I enjoyed wandering around taking images of the flora I found in Sawgrass County Park in Pinellas County, Florida. It was (and still is) a great place to see and photograph some of the native plants of Florida’s wetlands.

Peppervine (Ampelopsis arborea)

 Peppervine (Ampelopsis arborea) –  Nikon D200, handheld, f5.3, 1/320, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 200mm, natural light

Peppervines are common in the wooded areas of Sawgrass County Park so I would attempt to photograph them in dramatic light with smooth backgrounds simply because I wanted more than just documentary photos. Usually I found the Peppervines under the canopy of the pines and maples and it was tricky to get the vines far enough away from the background to create a smooth bokeh.

Among the reasons I was fascinated by Peppervines was their curling tendrils, the color and translucency of the new growth and the curvy lines of the vine and its foliage. The new growth varies in colors from deep burgundy to reds and pinks tinged with green.

Peppervine (Ampelopsis arborea)

 Peppervine (Ampelopsis arborea) –  Nikon D70, handheld, f5.6, 1/200, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, natural light

Although Peppervine is considered an invasive pest by some people I think in the natural setting of Saw Grass County Park it fits in quite wonderfully. Birds are attracted to the fruit that these vines produce so they can’t be all that bad.

Perhaps I should focus more on photographing plants and wildflowers but when there are birds around… I just can’t resist them!


* This plant is native and not related to the exotic, invasive Brazilian Pepper that is a major problem in Florida