Grape - Muscadine

Scientific name: Vitis rotundifolia
Abundance: common
What: fruits, leaves, young tendrils
How: fruit raw, cooked, dried, preserves, wine; leaves and tendrils cooked.
Where: Edges of woods, Its leaves aren't as fuzzy as Mustang grapes nor do they have white undersides.
When: late summer, fall
Nutritional Value:, calories, antioxidants, very low in vitamins and minerals.

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves of Vitis rotundifolia are arranged alternately along the stem.

Leaf Shape: Leaves are typically simple, round or broadly ovate, measuring approximately 2 to 5 inches in width.

Leaf Venation: Palmate venation, with multiple veins running from the base to the edges of the leaf.

Leaf Margin: The leaf margin is typically serrated or toothed.

Leaf Color: The leaves are similar shades of green on top and underneath.

Flower Structure: The flowers are small and greenish, occurring in small clusters known as inflorescences. Individual flowers are only about 1/8" or less in diameter.

Flower Color: Flowers are typically greenish-yellow.

Fruit: The fruit is a grape, often larger than most grape species, with a diameter ranging from approximately 1/2 to 1 inch, and usually dark purple to black when ripe. They grow in groups of 1-3 grapes along the vine.

Seed: Inside the grape are small, round, and brown seeds.

Stem: The stem is typically climbing, with tendrils for support. Mature stems have a woody, rugged or peeling bark. Long, hairlike strands may hang from mature stems.

Hairs: Fine hairs may be present on some parts of the plant, including the stem.

Height: Vitis rotundifolia is a climbing vine and can reach varying heights depending on its support structure.

Immature fruit.

Grapes - Muscadine IGFB

Mature fruit.

Fallen mature fruit.

Close-up of leaves

Grape - Muscadine Leaves IGFB12

Muscadines have a single tendril growing opposite of the leaf.
Grape Muscadine IGFB

Very old vines.
Very mature grape vines.

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Muscadine Grape vines cover the woods of gulf coast, east, and central Texas. These fast growing vines can be found climbing many trees and old, abandoned equipment. The fruit does require sunlight to ripen properly so often it'll be way up among the tree tops rather than being easily accessible. Muscadine Grape leaves are shiny and smooth both on top and underneath, unlike the fuzzy, gray undersides and smooth, green tops of Mustang Grape leaves.

When ripe the fruit is very sweet and flavorful but unlike store-bought grapes the skins of muscadines is very thick/chewy and the inner pulp is quite gelatinous. The seeds can be eaten with the grape or saved to be crushed for grape oil. The white, powder coating on the skin is a naturally-occurring yeast which can be used to ferment the crushed grapes into wine.

Muscadine grape vines can be used as an emergency water source in the woods. Cut through a thick grape vine as high up as you can reach, followed by cutting through it again at the very bottom. To collect the water which drips out support the top end up in the air and place the bottom end below it in a container. Once the water flow stops cut two feet off the top and more water will drip out of the vine. Repeat the cutting off of the top two feet every time the water stops flowing until no vine is left.

I love this book for wine-making recipes: 101 Recipes for Making Wild Wines

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