Herb: Riverbank Grape

Latin name: Vitis riparia

Synonyms: Vitis vulpina

Family: Vitaceae (Grape Family)

Edible parts of Riverbank Grape:

Fruit - raw or dried for later use. Juicy and somewhat acid. The taste is best after a frost. The fruit is about 6 - 12mm in diameter and is carried 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. Sap - raw. A sweet flavour, it is used as a drink. The sap can be harvested in the spring and early summer, though it should not be taken in quantity or it will weaken the plant.

Description of the plant:


15 m
(49 feet)

May to


Habitat of the herb:

Riverbanks, bottomlands, rich thickets and woodland margins.

Other uses of Riverbank Grape:

A yellow dye is obtained from the fresh or dried leaves. The plant is used as a rootstock for the common grape, V. vinifera, especially in areas where phylloxera disease is prevalent.

Propagation of the herb:

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 Riverbank Grape:

Riverbanks, bottomlands, rich thickets and woodland margins.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Vitis riparia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.