Vitis aestivalis Michx.
Summer grape, grape
Summer grapes are robust eastern North American native plants.
Identification: Summer grapes are vines that clamber over other plants, attaching themselves with tendrils that wind themselves into coiled springs. Vines become woody, and can reach 70' (21 m) in length and 5" (12 cm) in diameter. Leaves are alternate, and 3-8" (7.6-20 cm) in size, and highly variable in shape. They are roughly oval, often with three to five lobes. Leaf undersides are glaucous. The inner vertices of deeply lobed leaves are rounded rather than sharp. Leaf stems (called petioles) are 3-5” long. Flowers occur in dense greenish panicles that look a little like fuzzy versions of the grapes to come, appearing Apr-Jun. Fruits are dark blue to black, somewhat glaucous, ¼-¾" (8-20 mm) wide, in large clusters.
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Vitis cinerea var. floridana
|Plant||Vines become woody, and can reach 70' (21 m) in length and 5" (12 cm) in diameter.||Vine branchlets are angled.|
|Flowers||Dense greenish panicles, appearing Apr-Jun.||Flowering occurs in May-Jun. Flowers are in clusters 4-10" (10-25 cm) in size.|
|Leaves||Alternate, 3-8" (7.6-20 cm) in size, and highly variable in shape. Leaf undersides are glaucous. Leaf stems (petioles) are 3-5” long.||Leaf blades 2-8" (6-20 cm) in size, on petioles of roughly equal length. Leaf undersides are not glaucous.|
|Fruit||Dark blue to black, somewhat glaucous, ¼-¾" (8-20 mm) wide, in large clusters.||Grapes are not usually glaucous, ⅛-¼" (4-8 mm) wide, and black.|
|Habitats||Drier areas.||Damp areas.|
Edibility: Edible, but not especially tasty: they vary from sweet to tart, and contain up to four small, hard seeds. They are sometimes used for jams or pies. Their flavor is said to improve after a frost. These grapes can be used to make wine, but are not widely favored for that purpose.
Vitus aestivalis var. bicolor on www.carolinanature.com
Vitis aestivalis on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database
Vitis aestivalis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Vitis aestivalis at Illinois Wildflowers
Vitis aestivalis at the Island Creek Elementary School's Study of Northern Virginia Ecology
Vitis aestivalis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 17 Aug 2021.