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Common Name: Frost Grape
Vitis cordifolia is a Deciduous Climber up to 20.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
Southern and Eastern N. America - New York to Florida. Locally naturalized in Europe[
River banks, bottom lands and rich thickets[
Prefers a deep rich moist well-drained moderately fertile loam[
]. Grows best in a calcareous soil[
], doing well when lime rubble is incorporated into the 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.
A very vigorous plant[
], climbing by means of tendrils[
]. It grows particularly well into elm trees[
The flowers are sweetly scented[
Any pruning should be carried out in winter when the plants are dormant otherwise they bleed profusely[
This species is often confused with V. vulpina[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for winter use[
]. They are said to be unpalatable until they have been touched by frost[
]. A spicy flavour[
]. Quite tasty[
]. The fruit is about 8 - 12mm in diameter[
] and is produced in fairly large bunches[
Leaves - cooked[
]. Young leaves are wrapped around other foods and then baked, they impart a pleasant flavour.
Young tendrils - raw or cooked[
The twigs are a tea substitute[
A yellow dye is obtained from the fresh or dried leaves[
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.