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Frost Grape Vitis vulpina

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Vitis cordifolia
  • Vitis cordifolia var. foetida
  • Vitis cordifolia var. sempervirens
  • Vitis illex
Phonetic Spelling
VEE-tiss vul-PEEN-uh
Description

Frost grape is a long-lived, native woody deciduous vine in the grape family.  It is found typically in upland woodlands and forests but occasionally in bottom land areas. Its height and width depend on as it needs appropriate support. 

Its distinguishing feature from similar grape species is its greenish-yellow undersides.  Other similar species will be silver.  The current years' growth will have round twigs, where others are angled and are reddened at the nodes.  A close observation will also show that the Frost Grape has tendrils or inflorescence at only 2 nodes in a row.  Other species tendrils and inflorescence can be found at 3 or more consecutive nodes.  

Although this plant does not do well in cold temperatures below -23 degrees F, the common name is derived from the fruits not becoming sweetened until after a frost.  Prior to frost, the fruits have a tart and/or acidic taste.  The frost brings on the sweetness. Being deciduous, in the fall, the plant will lose its leaves and go into dormancy, at which time, the fruits will shrivel up on the vine.  If left on the vine, they will eventually become raisins, much to the delight of hungry wildlife.  

A sunny location is required for fruit production.

The fruit and leaves are edible.  The fruit can be eaten raw or dried for later use.  The leaves, which have a pleasant flavor, are used as a wrap, surrounding other foods that are then baked.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Reseeds itself.  Insects such as Grape Flea Beetle, Grape Root worm, Grapevine Aphid, Marmorated Stink Bug, larvae of gall flies, leafhoppers, spittlebugs, wood-boring larvae of the long-horned beetle, and leaf-mining larvae of the Heliozelid moth feed on the woody vines. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#full sun#partial shade#partial sun#woody#spring flowers#moist soil#food source#herbaceous#NC native#summer flowers#full sunlight#woody vine#herbaceous vine#herbaceous perennial#fall fruits#sunshine#summer interest#deciduous vine#spring interest#native vine#pollinator plant#black fruits#berry#summer fruits#food source summer#vertical spaces#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#flowering vine#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#vine#insects#food source mid-summer#fruits early fall#audubon#woodlands#salt intolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#full sun#partial shade#partial sun#woody#spring flowers#moist soil#food source#herbaceous#NC native#summer flowers#full sunlight#woody vine#herbaceous vine#herbaceous perennial#fall fruits#sunshine#summer interest#deciduous vine#spring interest#native vine#pollinator plant#black fruits#berry#summer fruits#food source summer#vertical spaces#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#flowering vine#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#vine#insects#food source mid-summer#fruits early fall#audubon#woodlands#salt intolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vitis
    Species:
    vulpina
    Family:
    Vitaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Leaf Cutting
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV
    Fire Risk Rating:
    high flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees, birds, mammals, and insects enjoy the fruits as a food source. Pollinators enjoy the nectar from the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Edibility:
    The fruits and leaves are edible.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Creeping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Fine
    Appendage:
    Tendrils
  • 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 Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    In North Carolina, the round fruits are available from August to November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    In North Carolina, flowers bloom from May to June on 6" panicles.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The green leaves are mostly unlobed to slightly lobed. The greenish/yellow undersides have minimal hairs.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Bark Description:
    The reddish-brown bark splits into narrow strips.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The base of a multi-stemmed, mature plant can have a trunk up to 4" across. and often covered with lichens.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Border
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds