Herb: Frost Grape

Latin name: Vitis vulpina

Synonyms: Vitis odoratissima

Family: Vitaceae (Grape Family)

Medicinal use of Frost 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. An infusion of the roots has been taken in the treatment of rheumatism and diabetes.

Description of the plant:


25 m
(82 feet)

to July


Habitat of the herb:

Low woods, stream banks, bases of bluffs and thickets.

Edible parts of Frost Grape:

Fruit - raw or dried for winter use. Very acid when it first ripens, it becomes sweet and edible after exposure to frost. The fruit is 5 - 10mm in diameter and is carried in small bunches. Young leaves are wrapped around other foods and then baked, they impart a pleasant flavour. Young tendrils - raw or cooked.

Other uses of the herb:

A yellow dye is obtained from the fresh or dried leaves. The sap can be rubbed into the scalp as a tonic for the hair.

Propagation of Frost 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:

Low woods, stream banks, bases of bluffs and thickets.

Known hazards of Vitis vulpina:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.