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Plants & Animals

Highlights - Plant Materials Program

Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia)

Scientific Name: Vitis riparia Michx.
Family Name: Vitaceae
Common Name: riverbank grape, wild grape

Morphological Characteristics:
Habit - native perennial vine, vines grow up to 50 feet long from a central taproot, woody stems branch occasionally and have shaggy bark near the trunk, non-woody stems green or red and hairless.
Leaves – alternate, six inches long and four inches wide with a long petiole, heart-shaped, palmately lobed (may only be three clearly visible), coarsely toothed and slightly hairy margins, a few white hairs on the underside near main veins.
Flowers – small, greenish-white or greenish-yellow, five tiny petals, stamens long, clustered with tendrils opposite leaves (except every third one).
Fruit – small and green at first, when mature in late summer to early fall 1/4 inch wide, purple or blue with a whitish cast, sour.

Blooming: Flowers in late spring and lasts 2-3 weeks, seed matures early fall.

Distribution & Habitat: Moist woodland edges and openings, areas along rivers, lakes, ditches, and fence rows, along roadsides and railroads.

Collection: Berries can be collected in early fall and wood cuttings taken after the plants go dormant (November through February). Cuttings should be 12 to 15 inches in length and have a minimum of 3 buds/nodes per cutting. Ordinary wax may be used to seal the cutting ends to avoid desiccation if they can’t be shipped right away or wrap them in a slightly moist paper towel before packaging.

 Picture of Wild Grape leaves and blossoms.