Peppervine ~ Common but Delightful

/, Sawgrass Lake Park, Wildflowers/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


  1. Julie Brown February 18, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Lovely soft light and subdued colors.

    • Mia McPherson February 18, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Thanks so much for your comment Julie.

  2. Tammy Karr February 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Perfect composition! Lovely photos Mia!

    • Mia McPherson February 16, 2012 at 5:31 am

      Thank you Tammy, I appreciate your comments.

  3. Bob Zeller February 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    That second one took my breath away. Wow!! Mia, you are a lady of many photographic talents.

  4. Julie G. February 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I can see why you find peppervines so very appealing. They are quite delicate looking with subtle colors. The refined curling tendrils are lovely, as well. Mia, you have photographed them beautifully. Exquisite work, as always!

    • Mia McPherson February 16, 2012 at 5:29 am

      Julie, thanks for your wonderful comments on these images.

  5. judy watson February 15, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Some of those invasion plants are very pretty!
    When we moved in this house there were all those ‘sun flowers’ in the back. I thought they were pretty till the next year when I learned they were weeds. So I pulled them all out. Now I just enjoy them on the island. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson February 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

      Hi Judy!

      I would have left the wild Sunflowers just because they attract so many different species of birds like finches, blackbirds and sparrows. I really love seeing them on the island but right now there are so many dead stalks that get in the way of photographing coyotes & birds on the ground. I was hoping we’d get a huge snow that would push all those dead stalks to the ground before spring!

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