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Common Name: Frost Grape
Vitis vulpina is a Deciduous Climber up to 25.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Central and Eastern N. America - New Brunswick to Manitoba, south to Maryland, Arkansas and Colorado
Low woods, stream banks, bases of bluffs and thickets[
Prefers a deep rich moist well-drained moderately fertile loam[
]. Grows best in a calcareous soil[
]. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though a warm sunny position is required for the fruit to ripen[
The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts.
There has been much confusion in the past between this species, V. cordifolia and V. riparia. Some treatments of the genus only use V. cordifolia and V. riparia, relegating this species to a synonym, but [
] recognizes all three species and this is the treatment followed here[
Plants climb by means of tendrils[
The flowers are sweetly scented[
Any pruning should be carried out in winter when the plants are dormant otherwise they bleed profusely[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or dried for winter use. Very acid when it first ripens, it becomes sweet and edible after exposure to frost[
]. The fruit is 5 - 10mm in diameter[
] and is carried in small bunches[
Young leaves are wrapped around other foods and then baked, they impart a pleasant flavour.
Young tendrils - raw or cooked.
The leaves are hepatic[
]. They have been used in the treatment of the liver[
]. The wilted leaves have been applied as a poultice to the breasts to draw away soreness after the birth of a child[
An infusion of the bark has been used to treat urinary complaints[
An infusion of the roots has been taken in the treatment of rheumatism and diabetes[
A yellow dye is obtained from the fresh or dried leaves[
The sap can be rubbed into the scalp as a tonic for the hair[
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[
]. Six weeks cold stratification improves the germination rate, and so stored seed is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is obtained. Germination should take place in the first spring, but sometimes takes another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in early summer.
Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, December/January in a frame. These cuttings can be of wood 15 - 30cm long or they can be of short sections of the stem about 5cm long with just one bud at the top of the section. In this case a thin, narrow strip of the bark about 3cm long is removed from the bottom half of the side of the stem. This will encourage callusing and the formation of roots. Due to the size of these cuttings they need to be kept in a more protected environment than the longer cuttings.