A recent study by Jun Wen, John Boggan and Ze-Long Nie (Synopsis of Nekemias Raf., a segregate genus from Ampelopsis Michx. (Vitaceae) disjunct between eastern/southeastern Asia and eastern North America, with ten new combinations; PhotoKeys 42; 11-19 (2014)) has proposed transferring this species to the genus Nekemias as Nekemias arborea (L.) J.Wen & Boggan. This change has not yet (2016) been fully accepted and so, for the time being, we are leaving this record under Ampelopsis[
Ampelopsis bipinnata Michx.
Cissus bipinnata Nutt.
Cissus stans Pers.
Hedera arborea (L.) Walter
Nekemias arborea (L.) J.Wen & Boggan
Vitis arborea L.
Vitis bipinnata (Michx.) Torr. & A.Gray
Common Name: Pepper Vine
Ampelopsis arborea is a deciduous, climbing shrub with vigorous stems that can be 10 metres or more long. The plant scrambles over the ground, climbing into surrounding vegetation, where it attaches itself by means of tendrils, and able to climb to the tops of trees in woodlands. The plant is probably semi-evergreen or even evergreen in areas with warm winters[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. A very ornamental plant, it is sometimes grown in gardens.
Southern N. America - Illinois to Virginia, south to northern Mexico, New Mexico, Texas to Florida
]. Rich moist soils[
]. Stream bottoms, fence posts and disturbed areas in Texas[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Ampelopsis arborea is found in central and southern USA, where the climate ranges from continental with fairly cold winters to subtropical. It is tolerant of winter temperatures dipping to -10°c, but the new growth in spring cannot tolerate frosts and can be damaged by temperatures of 0°c[
]. The plant fruits best in regions with long hot summers that ripen the wood and promote flowering the following year[
Prefers a deep rich loam in a warm sheltered position in sun or semi-shade[
]. In areas subject to spring frosts, it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[
The new leaves, especially when the plant is grown in a sunny position, can be bright red in colour[
Plants climb by means of coiling tendrils but large plants often need tying in to support the weight of foliage[
Any pruning is best carried out in the winter[
Fruit - raw or cooked. A poor flavour[
]. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter and contains 3 seeds[
]. It is carried in small bunches on the plant, rather like grapes[
]. The flesh is thin and inedible[
Seed - sow in pots in a cold frame in the autumn or stratify for 6 weeks at 5°c and sow in the spring[
]. Germination can be quite slow, sometimes taking more than a year. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. When they are more than 20cm tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions, preferably in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm long, mid summer in a frame[
Cuttings or eyes in late autumn or winter. Either place them in the ground in a greenhouse or cold frame, or put them in pots. An eye cutting is where you have just one bud at the top and a short length of stem with a small part of the bark removed. These normally root well and grow away vigorously, being ready to plant into their permanent positions the following autumn.
Layering into pots in late summer. Partially sever the stem in spring and then lift the new plants in the autumn[