Herb: Summer Grape


Latin name: Vitis aestivalis


Family: Vitaceae (Grape Family)



Medicinal use of Summer Grape:

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.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Climber

Height:
20 m
(66 feet)

Flovering:
June
to July


Scent:
Scented
Climber

Habitat of the herb:

Dry woods and thickets. Stream bottom woods, usually on sandy soils, in Texas.

Edible parts of Summer Grape:

Fruit - raw, cooked in jellies, jams, pies etc or dried for later use. Agreeably flavoured. The taste is best after a frost.The dried fruits are eaten as snacks or used in baked goods. The fruit is about 8mm 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. A sweet watery sap is obtained from the stem. Used as a refreshing drink. Young tendrils - raw or cooked.

Other uses of the herb:

A yellow dye is obtained from the fresh or dried leaves.

Propagation of Summer Grape:

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. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry woods and thickets. Stream bottom woods, usually on sandy soils, in Texas.

Known hazards of Vitis aestivalis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.