Wild Grape, Riverbank Grape
(Vitis riparia Michx.)
Vitaceae - Grape Family
Perennial woody climbing or trailing vine
These long lived vines can grow to reach the tops of the tallest of trees.
Alternate coursely toothed leaves, 2 - 10 inches long and 2 - 8 inches wide. Often opposite of tendrils, or inflorescences (a cluster of flowers).
The vines of older specimens can often reach 3 - 4 inches in diameter, although 1 - 2 inches is much more common.
Deep spreading root system
Small white or greenish flowers arranged in a loose, 1-1/2 to 6 inch long, multi-branched inflorescence.
Small 1/4 - 1/2 inch berries. Each grape is covered with a whitish bloom. They are edible, although some may be quite sour, or bitter. IF you are lucky, you will find a specimen with deliciouslly sweet fruit. Do not despiar however, because even the tartest of grapes can be made into wonderfully delicious pies, jams, and wines.
Canadian moonseed, (Menispermum canadense) is a toxic look-alike of wild grape. While the leaves and berries are similar in appearance, there are glaring differences which will help you differentiate between the two. As the name implies, the seed of Canadian moonseed are shaped like a half or cresent moon, while those of wild grape are round. Also canadian moonseed grows up another plant or tree by wrapping itself around the stem or trunk of its support structure. Wild grapes however wrap tendrils around the plants or structures it uses for support.
The fruit of Virginia creeper, (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) bear a striking similarity to that of wild grape. The most striking differences are the leaves of virginia creeper. The leaves are palmately compound, consisting of 5 leaflets. The fruit bearing stems of virginia creeper are bright red, while those of wild grape are green, or brownish.
Wild grape prefer moist soils with plenty of sun. They often grow along riverbanks, forest clearings, fence lines, and along road sides.
Wild Food Uses:
The fruit can be eaten raw, or baked into pies, or made into jams or jellies.
The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.
THE FOLLOWING PICTURES ARE OF CANADIAN MOONSEED AND VIRGINIA CREEPER. ALL PLANTS PICTURED BELOW ARE TOXIC AND SHOULD NEVER BE GATHERED
CANADIAN MOONSEED (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
VIRGINIA CREEPER (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)