Vitis riparia (Frost Grape, Wild Grape)

description: deciduous woody vine

place of origin: eastern North America

urban habitat: commonly found in the understory of moist woods, along chain-link fences and roadside guardrails, and on banks of streams and rivers; seedlings are highly shade tolerant and its vines are cold hardy and disease resistant; climbing vines can overwhelm growth of nearby plants.

ecological function: food and habitat for wildlife; erosion control; tolerant of roadway salt.

history: Vitis riparia has the largest geographical range of all North American grape species. It has been used as rootstock to transfer cold hardiness and disease resistance to the wine grape. Some Native American tribes made a medicinal tea from its leaves and consumed its fruit both dried and fresh. The fruit has been used to make jams, jellies, and wines. Its young tendrils are edible raw or cooked and a yellow dye can be obtained from its leaves.