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Native North American
Grapes and Wines

bunch grapes

"Wild grapes are strong on flavor and weak on sugar, but sugar is cheap...."




Grapes grow wild almost everywhere in the United States, Canada and Mexico except in the extreme deserts and the tundra of the extreme north. The genus is Vitis, of which there are perhaps no more than 50 species in the entire world. For reasons still not understood, more than half the world's species are native to North America. Why this is so is not only a great mystery, but contains within it countless minor mysteries as well. As U.P. Hedrick asked in his 1908 seminal work, The Grapes of New York:

How did the grape spread from the Carolinas to California and from subtropical Mexico to the barren plains of Central Canada? Why divide into its manifold forms in the distribution?...All would take the ground that the different wild forms come from one ancestral species.

Native North American grapes were certainly widely distributed and diversified long before ancient man arrived on this continent. Fossils tell us that much. Their distributions have been natural, with birds, animals and moving water providing the means of their spread. Again, Hedrick:

As a species has encroached upon a new region, climate, soil, all of the conditions of environment, and the contest with other living things, have gradually modified its characters until in time it became so changed that it constituted a new species.

The evolutionary descent--some would argue ascent--from an aboriginal species has resulted in grapes as varied and diverse as the regions they inhabit. Some species produce dwarf shrubs 2-6 feet high in harsh terrain where roots must find interstices in rock to gain foothold. Others produce enormous trunks supporting great canopies of branch and vine that produce fruit for two or more centuries. Between these extremes are a score of species that vary greatly and yet are close enough alike that identification is sometimes a difficult task. Their leaves, in particular--with few exceptions--are uncannily similar in shape and color, and yet subtle differences in shade, shape, texture, edging and other features exist and are identifiable to the trained eye. Here, I am speaking of the adult, mature leaves. Young vines of several species produce a variety of shapes, as the photograph below demonstrates -- in Vitis mustangensis, deeply lobed adolescent leaf-shapes give way to the more representative heart-shaped leaves of (lower row) the adult.

Mustang grape leaf diversity
Eight different leaf shapes from
the same vine of Vitis mustangensis

Confusing the subject of identity and separation into species is the fact that, except for the Vitis rotundifolia and Vitis palmata, they hybridize naturally with captive (cultivated) grapes. Natural hybridization between native species, however, is rare, a point I did not appreciate until I met and spent time with Dr. Barry Comeaux, in my opinion the most knowledgeable and insightful man today on the native grapes of North America.

Barry Comeaux
Barry Comeaux in his native grapes vineyard

To understand why native North American grapes do not readily hybridize, it is necessary to understand two concepts -- ecological barriers and phenological barriers -- that encourage reproductive isolation. Ecological barriers include (but are not limited to) wet, mesic (moderate or a well-balanced supply of moisture) and xeric (moisture deficient) environments as well as gradation (elevation). Phenological barriers include genetic interinfertility (between species of section Lenticellosis, [chromosomes 2n=40] and section Vitis [chromosomes 2n=38]), length of dormancy and natural spacing of flowering periods. When species coexist in the same ecological habitats, Comeaux found that they possessed phenological differences that served to preclude hybridization. For example, when Vitis labrusca and Vitis cinerea coexist, they are respectively the first Vitis to flower and the last to flower, with at least a month of separation. In some areas where the flowering periods are closer together, interinfertility prevails -- as when Vitis cinerea and Vitis rotundifolia coexist. Comeaux also found locations where one species occupied a wet valley, another occupied an adjacent mesic hillside or ridgeside and yet another occupied a semi-mesic hilltop or ridgetop. While interspecies hybridization can and does occur, it is far less prevalent in nature than previously believed. Indeed, it is rare.

Intraspecies differentiation -- i.e. the differentiation of a species into subspecies -- is far more likely than natural hybridization, and yet natural hybriduzation may play an important role in obscuring intraspecies differentiation itself. Indeed, Vitis aestivalis, Vitis cinerea and Vitis rotundifolia each has several subspecies. Populations exist where two or more of the Vitis aestivalis varieties (Vitis aestivalis va. aestivalis, Vitis aestivalis var. lincecumii, Vitis aestivalis var. glauca, and Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor), for example, exist contiguously and where, on their common boundary, they intergrade into an intermediate variety, neither one nor the other, but nonetheless recognizable as Vitis aestivalis. Whether this is a result of hybridization between the two varieties is impossible to tell presently, but does make differentiation difficult if not impossible with the tools available to the field collector today.

There is a great diversity of names associated with North American native grapes. So much so that even I am often confused. Therefore, I continue my research and make corrections here as I become convinced they are warranted. The problem is that so many early botanists went about classifying the natives without knowledge of the work of others, or with knowledge but without access to the specimens used by others, and, of course, some classifications were simply wrong -- cases of mistaken identity.

Linnaeus, Michaux, Munson, Engelmann, Simpson, Buckley, Bailey, Planchon, and others went about trying to make sense of the wide varieties of grapes found growing in the wild. The result is that there are a multitude of names assigned to grapes species, subspecies, varieties, and forms that found their way into the literature but are not accepted by authorities in taxon nomenclature. Many grapes are identified under two species, as you will note below if you are attentive in your reading. However, to quote Barry Comeaux, "With few exceptions, Munson got it pretty much right." Finally, names change. Vitis candicans (Engelmann), commonly known in Texas as the mustang grape, has been officially dropped in favor of the earlier Vitis mustangensis (Buckley). While I discovered this long ago, it took me many years for me to accept it. In my mind, it is still Vitis candicans Similarly, Vitis cordifolia (Michaux) has been abandoned in favor of Vitis vulpina (Linnaeus). But hanging around are a multitude of names assigned to the same grape -- not intentionally, but because the namer either thought he has discovered a new species, subspecies or variety, or, more often than not, he simply misidentified it.

For those who would do their own research and care for my opinion, I am most fond of the writings of Munson, Bailey, Engelmann and Comeaux, as they were able to retrospectively correct many mistakes of their predecessors (and contribute a few of their own). Hedrick's writing is the most readable and at 594 pages is a wonderful source, though hard to find. This section, I am sure, will continue to evolve as I continue my private studies and find time to comment on them.

Various authorities recognize between 19 and 35 species of native North American grape. I follow a course between these extremes, and continuing research results in occasional modifications of my listing. I doubt I shall ever be satisfied enough to call this chapter finished, but one must from time to time take a snapshot of what he thinks he knows and say this is where my knowledge stands today. My own conspectus of native North American Vitis species is reflected below.

Quite often the number of native grapes in a given state increases over time. This may be attributed to natural encroachment, but more often than not it is the result of man himself. I personally have two grapes growing on my back fences, grown from cuttings sent to me from both Atlantic and Pacific states, that are not naturally native to Texas. It is possible that birds will spread the seeds of these two species and seedlings may appear in my area quite "naturally." But the fact will remain that these two grapes are not indigenous to Texas. Citing Munson and others, I count 14 species as indigenous to Texas. Others have different counts based on evidence not cited.

The table below is as authoritative a list of native North American grapes as I am able to construct at this time, although my research continues. With 83 entries for 30 accepted and 5 pending species on the entire continent, it should should be recognized by all that far more species have been claimed than actually exist. Please note that those names below not recognized as representing a unique species contain the name of the actual species the unrecognized name in fact refers to. Common names in all cases refer to the accepted species.

North American Native Grape List
compiled by Jack Keller
Binomial Attribution Accepted Name Common Names
Vitis Linnaeus Accepted grape
Vitis X bourquina Munson ex Viala (pro sp.) Accepted (hybrid not natural) grape
Vitis X champinii Planch. (pro sp.) Accepted (mustangensis rupestris) Champin's grape
Vitis X doaniana Munson ex Viala (pro sp.) Accepted (acerifolia mustangensis) Doan's grape
Vitis X labruscana Bailey (pro sp.) Accepted (hybrid not natural) grape
Vitis X novae-angliae Fern. (pro sp.) Accepted (labrusca riparia) pilgrin grape
Vitis X slavinii Rehd. (pro sp.) Vitis aestivalis var. aestivalis Slavin's grape
Vitis acerifolia Raf. Accepted bush grape, mapleleaf grape
Vitis aestivalis Michx. Accepted summer grape
Vitis aestivalis var. aestivalis Michx. Accepted summer grape
Vitis aestivalis var. argentifolia (Munson) Fern. Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor summer grape
Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor Deam Accepted summer grape
Vitis aestivalis var. canescens Engelm. Vitis cinerea var. cinerea graybark grape
Vitis aestivalis var. glauca (Munson) Bailey (Keller & Comeaux) Pending blue-leaf grape, summer grape
Vitis aestivalis var. lincecumii (Buckl.) Munson Accepted post oak grape, pinewood grape
Vitis aestivalis var. monticola (Buckl.) Engelm. Vitis monticola mountain grape, sweet mountain grape
Vitis argentifolia Munson Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor summer grape
Vitis arizonica Engelm. Accepted canyon grape
Vitis arizonica var. galvinii Munson Vitis arizonica canyon grape
Vitis arizonica var. glabra Munson Vitis arizonica canyon grape
Vitis austrina Small Vitis cinerea var. floridana Florida grape
Vitis baileyana Munson Vitis cinerea var. baileyana graybark grape
Vitis berlandieri Planch. Vitis cinerea var. helleri Heller's grape
Vitis bicolor Le Conte, non Raf. Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor summer grape
Vitis biformis Rose Pending grape
Vitis blancoi Rose Accepted Blanco's grape
Vitis bloodworthiana Comeaux Accepted grape
Vitis californica Benth Accepted California grape
Vitis candicans Englem. Vitis mustangensis mustang grape
Vitis candicans var. coriacea Bailey Vitis shuttleworthii calloose grape
Vitis candicans var. diversa Bailey Vitis mustangensis mustang grape
Vitis cinerea (Engelm.) Millard Accepted graybark grape, sweet grape
Vitis cinerea var. baileyana (Munson) Comeaux Accepted graybark grape
Vitis cinerea var. canescens (Engelm.) Bailey Vitis cinerea var. cinerea graybark grape
Vitis cinerea var. cinerea (Engelm.) Millard Accepted graybark grape
Vitis cinerea var. floridana Munson Accepted Florida grape
Vitis cinerea var. helleri (Bailey) M.O. Moore Accepted Heller's grape
Vitis cinerea var. tomentosa (Planch.) Comeaux Accepted woolly-leaf grape
Vitis cordifolia Michx. Vitis vulpina fox grape, frost grape, wild grape
Vitis cordifolia var. foetida Engelm. Vitis vulpina fox grape, frost grape, wild grape
Vitis cordifolia var. helleri auct. p.p. non Bailey Vitis cinerea var. helleri Heller's grape
Vitis cordifolia var. sempervirens Munson Vitis vulpina fox grape, frost grape, wild grape
Vitis coriacea Shuttlw. ex Planch. non Miq. Vitis shuttleworthii calloose grape
Vitis foexana Planch. Vitis monticola mountain grape, sweet mountain grape
Vitis girdiana Munson Accepted desert wild grape
Vitis helleri auct. p.p. non (Bailey) Small Vitis cinerea var. helleri Heller's grape
Vitis illex Bailey Vitis vulpina fox grape, frost grape, wild grape
Vitis jaegeriana Comeaux Pending grape
Vitis labrusca Linnaeus Accepted fox grape
Vitis labrusca var. subdentata Fern. Vitis labrusca fox grape
Vitis lecontiana House Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor summer grape
Vitis lincecumii Buckl. Vitis aestivalis var. lincecumii post oak grape, pinewood grape
Vitis lincecumii var. glauca Munson Vitis aestivalis var. glauca summer grape
Vitis lincecumii var. lactea Small Vitis cinerea var. cinerea summer grape
Vitis longii Prince Vitis acerifolia mapleleaf grape
Vitis longii var. microsperma (Munson) Bailey Vitis acerifolia mapleleaf grape
Vitis montana Buckl. ex Foex Vitis monticola mountain grape, sweet mountain grape
Vitis monticola Buckl. Accepted mountain grape, sweet mountain grape
Vitis munsoniana Simpsom ex Munson Vitis rotundifolia var. munsoniana Munson's grape
Vitis mustangensis Buckl. Accepted mustang grape
Vitis mustangensis var. diversa (Bailey) Shinners Vitis mustangensis mustang grape
Vitis nesbittiana Comeaux Accepted grape
Vitis palmata Vahl Accepted catbird grape
Vitis popenoei Fennel Accepted totoloche grape
Vitis riparia Michx. Accepted riverbank grape
Vitis riparia var. praecox Engelm. ex Bailey Vitis riparia riverbank grape
Vitis riparia var. syrticola (Fern. & Wieg.) Fern. Vitis riparia riverbank grape
Vitis rotundifolia Michx. Accepted muscadine
Vitis rotundifolia var. munsoniana Michx. Accepted Munson's grape
Vitis rotundifolia var. munsoniana forma pygmaea (Simpson ex Munson) Moore (Rogers & Mortensem) Comeaux. Pending Pigmy muscadine
Vitis rotundifolia var. rotundifolia Michx. Accepted muscadine
Vitis rubra Michx. Vitis palmata catbird grape
Vitis rufotomentosa Small Vitis aestivalis var. aestivalis summer grape
Vitis rupestris Scheele Accepted sand grape
Vitis rupestris var. dissecta Eggert ex Bailey Vitis rupestris sand grape
Vitis shuttleworthii House Accepted calloose grape
Vitis simpsonii Munson 1887 non 1890 Vitis cinerea var. floridana Florida grape
Vitis simpsonii Munson 1890 non 1887 Vitis aestivalis var. aestivalis summer grape
Vitis smalliana Bailey Vitis aestivalis var. aestivalis summer grape
Vitis sola Bailey Vitis cinerea var. floridana Florida grape
Vitis solonis hort. Berol. ex Planch. Vitis acerifolia bush grape, mapleleaf grape
Vitis texana Munson Vitis monticola mountain grape, sweet mountain grape
Vitis tiliifolia Humb. & Bonpl. ex J.A. Schultes Accepted West Indian grape
Vitis treleasei Munson ex Bailey Vitis arizonica canyon grape
Vitis vulpina L. Accepted frost grape
Vitis vulpina ssp. riparia (Michx.) R.T. Clausen Vitis riparia riverbank grape
Vitis vulpina var. praecox (Engelm. ex Bailey) Bailey Vitis riparia riverbank grape
Vitis vulpina var. syrticola Fern. & Wieg. Vitis riparia riverbank grape

Compare the list above with the List of Offered Names for Vitis Species, linked below the text portion of this page.

Common names for native grape varieties are widely varied, often misappropriated from an entirely different species located elsewhere. At least two species (and ofter more) each have varieties referred to, for example, as the mustang grape, fox grape, frost grape, beach grape, gulch grape, canyon grape, sugar grape, florida grape, and bush grape. Small grapes are often incorrectly referred to as possum grape regardless of species. And almost everywhere I have pointed to wild grapes and asked local residents what they call them, I have been told, "Wild grapes."

Indeed, local names are more confusing than botanical names, and botanical names are confusing enough. It is universally accepted that the American native muscadine grape is the Vitis rotundifolia, yet that same grape has been variously identified (sometimes quite mistakenly) as Vitis acerifolia, Vitis angulata, Vitis callosa, Vitis cordifolia, Vitis Hyemalis, Vitis muscadina, Vitis mustangensis, Vitis peltata, Vitis taurina, and Vitis verrucosa. To help the viewer (hopefully), I'll list the common and botanical varieties for each of several species, citing the authority for the name in parentheses when known, although this list is by no means complete and indeed is still under construction. A word of warning, however: there are many duplicate names in the list below due to widespread confusion as to the identity of many wild grapes. As I said, I am attempting to tidy up the list and it is nowhere near as complete as the list in the table above.

Vitis acerifolia (Prince): Commonly, the mapleleaf grape, beach grape, bush grape, gulch grape, Long's grape, sand grape, sugar grape, and woolly riparia grape; botanically, Vitis cordifolia var. solonis (Planchon), Vitis longii (Prince), Vitis longii var. microsperma (Bailey), Vitis neuva mexicana (Lemmon), Vitis novo mexicana (Munson), Vitis rubra var. solonis (Planchon), Vitis solonis (Hort.), Vitis solonis var. microsperma (Munson), and Vitis solonis.
Vitis aestivalis (Munson): Commonly, the cynthiana grape, arkansas grape, Norton grape, Norton Virginia grape, Norton's seedling, Norton's Virginia seedling, and Red River grape; botanically, Vitis nortoni and Vitis cynthiana.
Vitis aestivalis var. aestivalis (Small): Commonly, the summer grape, south western aestivalis, turkey grape, vine wood grape, currant grape, fig leaf grape, palmetto leaved grape, and Simpson's grape; botanically, Vitis rufotomentosa (Small), Vitis diversifolia (Prince), Vitis incisifolia (Davin), Vitis labrusca (Gray), Vitis labrusca var. aestivalis (Regel), Vitis lincecomii var. lactea (Small), Vitis lincecomii var. glauca (Munson), and Vitis linsecomii (Munson), Vitis simpsonii (Munson), Vitis smalliana (Bailey).
Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor (Munson): Commonly, the summer grape, blue grape, northern summer grape, winter grape, two-colored leaf grape, and two-colored leaved vine; botanically, Vitis aestivalis (Darlington), Vitis bicolor (Le Conte non Raf.), and Vitis argentifolia (Munson).
Vitis aestivalis var. lincecumii (Buckley): Commonly, long grape, pinewood grape, post oak grape, big summer grape, sand grape, south western aestivalis, turkey grape, and vine wood grape; botanically, Vitis lincecumii (Buckley), Vitis diversifolia (Prince), Vitis incisifolia (Davin), Vitis labrusca (Gray), Vitis labrusca var. aestivalis (Regel), Vitis lincecomii var. lactea (Small), Vitis lincecomii var. glauca (Munson), and Vitis linsecomii (Munson).
Vitis arizonica (Engelmann): Commonly, the Arizona grape, canon grape, canyon grape, Dawny canon grape, and gulch grape; botanically, Vitis aestivalis (Torrey), Vitis aestivalis (Wright), Vitis arizonensis (Parry), and Vitis riparia (Gray), Vitis treleasei (Munson ex Bailey).
Vitis californica (Bentham): Commonly, the California grape and Pacific grape; botanically, Vitis caribaea (Hook et Arn.) and Vitis girdiana (Munson).
Vitis blancoi (Munson et Comeaux): Commonly, Blanco's grape, Mecican grape; botanically, Vitis tiliifolia (Bailey et Standley)
Vitis cinerea (Engelmann): Commonly, the ashy leaved grape, downy grape, graybark grape, gray black grape, pigeon grape, sweet winter grape, and Wichita grape; botanically, Vitis aestivalis (Palmer), Vitis aestivalis var. cinerea (Engelmann), Vitis aestivalis var. canescens (Engelmann), Vitis aestivalis var. tomento albo asa (Gray), Vitis biformis (Rose), and Vitis cinerea var. rufescens (Planchon).
Vitis cinerea var. baileyana (Munson): Commonly, the graybark grape, bush grape, possum grape, and Virginia grape; botanically, Vitis baileyana (Munson), Vitis virginiana (Munson).
Vitis cinerea var. helleri (Planchon): Commonly, Heller's grape, sugar grape, fall grape, winter grape, sweet grape, Surett grape, Spanish grape, and uva cimmarrona (in Mexico); botanically, Vitis berlandieri (Planchon).
Vitis cinerea var. tomentosa (Planchon et Comeaux): Commonly, woolly-leaf grape, tomentose grape; botanically, Vitis blancoi (Munson), Vitis berlandieri var. tomentosa (Planch. et Bailey).
Vitis girdiana (Munson): Commonly, the desert wild grape, plant lajarre, Southern California grape and valley grape.
Vitis labrusca (Linnaeus): Commonly, the Alexander grape, Alexandria grape, beaconsfield grape, black cape grape, black champion, black fox grape, black grape, buck grape, cape grape, champignon grape, Clifton's Constantia grape, Clifton's lombardia grape, Columbian grape, Constantia grape, early champion grape, Farker's grape, fox grape, frost grape, Madeira of York grape, northern muscadine grape, plum grape, Rothrock grape, Rothrock of Prince grape, Schuykill muscadel, Schuykill muscadine,skunk grape, springmill Constantia grape, swamp grape, Talmam's seedling grape, Tasker's grape, Tolman grape, Vevay grape, Winne grape, and York Lisbon grape; botanically, Vitis blandii (Prince), Vitis canina, Vitis catawba (Hort.), Vitis ferruginga, Vitis labrusca alexandrer,Vitis labrusca champion, Vitis labrusca var. subeden tata (Fernald), Vitis labrusca var. typica (Regel), Vitis latifolia, Vitis luteola, Vitis sylvestris virginiana (Bauh), Vitis taurina (Walter), Vitis vinifera sylvestris americana (Pluk), and Vitis vulpina (Marshall).
Vitis monticola (Buckley): Commonly, the mountain grape, sweet mountain grape, sugar grape, and Champini's grape; botanically, Vitis aestivalis var. monticola (Buckley, Engelmann), Vitis champanii (Planchon), Vitis foexana (Planchon), Vitis montana (Buckley ex Foex), Vitis texana (Munson).
Vitis mustangensis (Buckley): Commonly, the mustang grape, Texas grape, Rio Grande grape; botanically, Vitis candicans (Engelmann), Vitis candicans var. diversa (Bailey), Vitis caribaea var. coriaca (Chapman), and Vitis vinifera var. candicans (Kuntze).
Vitis palmata (Vahl): Commonly, the callosa grape, Caribbean grape, bird grape, Bland's grape, cat grape, Eggert's grape, palmated leaves vine, red grape, and Vigne des Chat; botanically, Vitis monosperma (Michaux), Vitis rubra (Michaux), Vitis riparia var. palmata (Poiret), Vitis vinifera var. palmata (Kuntze), and Vitis virginiana (Poiret).
Vitis popenoei (Fennell): Commonly, the totoloche grape.
Vitis riparia (Michaux): Commonly, the Bermuda vine, frost grape, June grape, maple leaved Canadian grape, Mignonette vine, river grape, riverside grape, scented grape, Uferrebe grape, and Vignes des Battures; botanically, the Vitis amara, Vitis boulderensis, Vitis canadensis aceris Folio (Tournef), Vitis colombina, Vitis concolor, Vitis cordifolia (Darlington), Vitis cordifolia riparia (Torr. et Gray), Vitis cordifolia var. riparia (Gray), Vitis cordifolia var. culpina (Eaton), Vitis dimidiata, Vitis illinoensis (Prince), Vitis incisa jacquelinia, Vitis intermedia (Nuttal), Vitis missouriensis (Prince), Vitis montana, Vitis odoratissima (Donn.), Vitis palmata (Vahl), Vitis populifolia, Vitis riparia var. palmata (Planchon), Vitis riparia var. praecox (Engelmann), Vitis rubra (Desf.), Vitis serotina (Bartram), Vitis tenuifolia (le Conte), Vitis virginiana (Hort.), Vitis virgiana (Poir), Vitis virginiana sylvestris (Parkins), Vitis virginiensis (de Juss), Vitis vulpina (L.), Vitis vulpina var. praecox (Bailey), Vitis vulpina var. riparia (Regel), and Vitis vulpina var. syrticola (Fernald and Weigand).
Vitis rotundifolia (Michaux): Commonly, the American muscadine, big white grape, black grape, bull grape, bullace grape, bullet grape, bullit grape, currant grape, flowers grape, green muscadine, Hickman's grape, muscadine grape, muscadinia rotundifolia Small, mustang grape, Roanoke grape, Scuppernong grape,southern fox grape, warty grape,white grape, white muscadine, white musky grape, and yellow muscadine; botanically, the Vitis acerifolia, Vitis angulata, Vitis callosa, Vitis cordifolia, Vitis hyemalis, Vitis muscadina, Vitis mustangensis, Vitis peltata, Vitis rotundifolia flowers, Vitis rotundifolia scuppernong, Vitis taurina (Bartram), and Vitis verrucosa.
Vitis rotundifolia var. munsoniana (Simpson): Commonly, Munson's grape, bird grape, everbearing grape, Florida grape, little muscadine grape, and mustang grape; botanically, Vitis floridana, Vitis munsoniana, Vitis muscadinia munsoniana (Small), and Vitis peltata.
Vitis rupestris (Scheele): Commonly, the beach grape, bush grape, currant grape, Felsenrebe grape, Ingar grape, July grape, mountain grape, rock grape, sand grape, and sugar grape; botanically, Vitis populi foliis (Lindh.), Vitis rupestris var. dissecta (Eggert), and Vitis vinifera var. rupestris (Kuntze).
Vitis shuttleworthii (House): Commonly, the calloosa grape, Florida grape, leather leaf grape, and Shuttleworth grape; botanically, Vitis candicans (Engelmann), Vitis candicans var. coriaca (Bailey), Vitis caribaea (Chapman), Vitis coriacea shuttleworth, Vitis labrusca var. typica ficifolia (Regel), Vitis sinuata (Mill).
Vitis vulpina (Linnaeus): Commonly, the chicken grape, frost grape, heart-leaved Vitis, possum grape, pungent winter grape, raccoon grape, sour winter grape, and winter grape; botanically, Vitis cordifolia (Michaux), Vitis cordifolia (Lamarck), Vitis amara, Vitis cordifolia (Lam), Vitis cordifolia var. punctata (Weber), Vitis cordifolia var. genuina (Durand), Vitis cordifolia var. foetida (Engelmann), Vitis hyemalis (Dum.), Vitis incisa (Pursh), Vitis pullaria (le Conte), Vitis serotina (Bartram), Vitis virginiana (Hort.), Vitis vulpina (Muhl), Vitis vulpina (Torrey), and Vitis vulpina var. cordifolia (Regel).

The most common of the native Vitis species in North America are the Vitis riparia, Vitis rotundifolia, Vitis labrusca, and Vitis rupestris. Due to their resistance to certain diseases which European grapes of the Vitis vinifera pedigree are more susceptible, Native North American vines have long been used as rootstock for vinifera grafts and for development of hardy hybrids.

Cultivated and hybrid varieties of Vitis rotundifolia that birds sometimes transfer to the wild are the Black Beauty, Black Fry, Bountiful, Carlos, Chief, Cowart, Darlene, Dearing, Delight, Dixie, Doreen, Florida Fry, Fry, Higgins, Hunt, Ison, Janebell, Janet, Jumbo, Loomis, Magnolia, Nesbitt, Noble, Pineapple, Regale, Scuppernong, Sterling, Summit, Supreme, Sweet Jenny, Tara, Tarheel, and Triumph. Some of the cultivated cousins of the hardy fox grape, Vitis labrusca, which are sometimes found in the wild are the Alexander, Catawba, Champion, Concord, Delaware, and Niagara. Nearly all of these produce a purple-black fruit with a bluish bloom, although green and bronze varieties of both are known -- especially the Scuppernong grape of the Carolinas and many of the cultivars. With few notable exceptions (the cultivars listed above, for example), most natives are rarely sweet enough for the table, so one should suspect any really sweet wild grape of being an escaped cultivar or of hybrid parentage.


NATIVE GRAPE RECIPES
Some old and new ways to make that wine....

VITIS -- ONE GENUS OR TWO?
A subtle controversy surrounds the lowly Muscadines....

List of Offered Names for Vitis Species
A list of names offered over the years for Vitis species....

Vitis rotundifolia
muscadines, Scuppernongs and bullace Grapes....

Vitis riparia
The most widely distributed of all North American grapes....

Vitis rupestris
The bush or sand grape makes excellent claret....

Work on this chapter continues.



Got a Favorite Native Grape Recipe?

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Last update was August 28th, 2006.

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