• morphology;
  • phylogeny;
  • seed morphology

Parthenocissus (the Virginia creeper genus, Vitaceae) consists of 13 species and shows a disjunct distribution between Asia and North America. We investigated the inflorescence structure, calyx morphology, appendages on the inner side of petals, leaf epidermis, pollen and seed characters throughout the genus. A combined phylogenetic analysis with 27 morphological and 4137 molecular characters was conducted and the result was largely congruent with that of the previous molecular work, but with higher resolution. The combined analysis identified two clades corresponding to the Asian and North American taxa. Parthenocissus feddei was resolved as closely related to the clade containing P. cuspidifera, P. heterophylla and P. semicordata. The four species share synapomorphies of having conspicuously raised veinlets, an obscurely five- (to eight-) lobed calyx, appendages on the inner side of petals covering the entire length of anthers and foveolate pollen exine ornamentation. Within the Old World clade, the pentafoliolate species were weakly supported as more closely related to species with both simple and trifoliolate leaves. Furthermore, the ancestral states of tendril apices, inflorescence structure, appendages on the inner side of petals and exine ornamentation of pollen grains were reconstructed on the molecular strict consensus tree. The appendages on the inner side of petals and exine ornamentation of pollen grains were suggested to be important characters in the taxonomy of Parthenocissus, especially for species with trifoliolate leaves. Finally, the previous classifications of Parthenocissus were evaluated within the phylogenetic framework. © 2011 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2011, ••, ••–••.