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Grape, Wild

Grape, Wild

Vining plant that has no solid, upright trunk. It can totally envelop bushes and trees. There are dozens of species of wild grapes found growing throughout the world. All are perennial, woody vines that are deciduous. Grape vines grow thicker and higher than most other native vines. Common species include summer grape (Vitis aestivalis), possum grape (Vitis cinerea), fox grape (Vitis labrusca), riverbank grape (Vitis riparia), muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia) and frost grape (Vitis vulpina).

HABIT: Climb very well due to forking tendrils. Grape tendrils most often are found growing from a stalk opposite from a leaf. Fruit is produced in pyramidal, hanging bunches and are blackish, dark blue or purple.
FLOWERS: Tiny white flowers in elongated clusters blooming in late spring to early summer.  Tiny clusters of hard, green grapes then develop. In late summer the grapes ripen. Wild grape vine flowers are insect pollinated.
LEAVES:  Most grape vines produce deeply lobed leaves similar to the cultivated grape. Leaves are green, alternating, cordate (heart-shaped at base) and lobed. They have long pointed tips, are coarsely toothed along the margin and have a smooth leaf surface.

HABITAT:  Many locations such as along roadsides, fencerows, forest edges and along riverbanks, also found in hardwood forests, growing up along with trees after logging, fire, or a windfall.
EDIBLE PARTS:  Ripe grapes can be eaten but taste better after the first frost. Making juice is a good and the grapes freeze well so they can be used for juice throughout the winter. Tangy leaves are also edible. They can be eaten in a salad or cooked. Grape leaves are stuffed with rice, meat and spices and known as dolmas. The leaves can be frozen for use throughout the winter months.

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