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Muscadine Grape Vitis rotundifolia

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Muscadinia rotundifolia var. rotundifolia
Phonetic Spelling
VEE-tiss ro-tun-dih-FOH-lee-uh
Description

Vitis rotundifolia, commonly called the Muscadine Grape is a native, deciduous climbing vine unique to the American South. In nature, it is typically found in dry upland forests with especially sandy or rocky soil, swamps, roadsides, and thickets. Muscadine grapes are large and have a thick skin, but are good for eating and wine-making due to their sweet, pungent flavor. The height and width of the vine vary due to the amount of support that the vine receives. Muscadine Grape is dioecious, meaning that a male and female or perfect flowering cultivar is needed to produce fruit. 

Fire Risk: This plant has an extreme flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home.  Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home.  

While over 300 cultivars are sold in the Southeast United States, most are female. 

Popular Cultivars

 

VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Penny Perkins-Veazie, Professor and Postharvest Physiologist at NC State's Plants for Human Health Institute

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Nesbitt'
    Large, black, self-fertile, cold tolerant and in the top 5 fresh-eating cultivars in NC.
  • 'Summit'
    Large, bronze, cold hardy, female in top 5 fresh cultivars recommended in NC
  • 'Supreme'
    Very large, black, female in the top 5 fresh-eating cultivars in NC.
  • 'Tara'
    Large, self-fertile, bronze in the top 5 fresh-eating cultivars in NC
  • 'Triumph'
    Early ripening, self-fertile, bronze with red blush, in the top 5 fresh-eating cultivars
'Nesbitt', 'Summit', 'Supreme', 'Tara', 'Triumph'
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Nesbitt'
    Large, black, self-fertile, cold tolerant and in the top 5 fresh-eating cultivars in NC.
  • 'Summit'
    Large, bronze, cold hardy, female in top 5 fresh cultivars recommended in NC
  • 'Supreme'
    Very large, black, female in the top 5 fresh-eating cultivars in NC.
  • 'Tara'
    Large, self-fertile, bronze in the top 5 fresh-eating cultivars in NC
  • 'Triumph'
    Early ripening, self-fertile, bronze with red blush, in the top 5 fresh-eating cultivars
'Nesbitt', 'Summit', 'Supreme', 'Tara', 'Triumph'
Tags:
#spring flowers#showy fruits#woody vine#cultivars#extreme flammability#food source summer#vine#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source nectar#fruits early fall#childrens garden#sun#wet soils tolerant#food source mid-summer#sunshine#deciduous#summer flowers#edible landscaping#edible fruits#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source#cottage garden#full sun#berry#fragrant#deciduous vine#dry soils tolerant#bees#dioecious#food source fall#mid-summer flowers#showy berries#children's garden#fruit#well-drained soil#NC native#native vine#fruits#pollinator plant#food source soft mast fruit#woodland#playground#berries#native#vines#mammals#flowering vine#fall color#fragrant fruits#fall fruits#fire#woody#coastal#edible plant#edible#food source soft-mast fruit#spring interest#partial sun#audubon#native garden#Piedmont Mountains FAC#partial shade#wildlife plant#showy flowers#moist soil#coastal FAC#vertical spaces#edible garden#flooding#full sunlight#summer interest#naturalized area#fall interest
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vitis
    Species:
    rotundifolia
    Family:
    Vitaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used this fruit for food, medicine, and in some ceremonies.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern United States
    Fire Risk Rating:
    extreme flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Its fruits are eaten by songbirds, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, small mammals, squirrels, white-tailed deer, raccoons, foxes, and black bears. Thickets provide nesting cover for songbirds. Bees and other pollinators enjoy the nectar from the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer and will tolerate seasonal flooding.
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Twining
    Edibility:
    Fruit can be eaten fresh or is used to make wine and an assortment of jams, jellies, and other preserves.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The vine produces 1/2 to 1 inch, dark purple or bronze, thick-skinned berries. In North Carolina, the grapes are primarily purple in color and are available from August to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The Muscadine Grape has small greenish-white flowers that mature in auxiliary panicles in the summer. In North Carolina, the flowers are available from May to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are alternate with 3 lobes and a coarsely toothed margin.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Green
    Bark Description:
    The bark is smooth and dark greenish-brown in young vines. As the vine ages, the bark turns dark brown in color and develops vertical grooves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil