Vitis labrusca

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Common Name: Fox Grape

Full to part sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; prefers sandy or rocky soil but tolerates other types of soil; pH tolerant.

4-75 feet height (depending on support) x 4-8 feet width; greenish white flowers; blooms late spring to early summer; round, ½ inch wide, bluish-black fruit.

Growth Rate:  Fast

Maintenance:   Any pruning best done in winter when plants are dormant; otherwise they bleed profusely (however it is not fatal).

Propagation:  ?

Native Region:  Haywood County in Coastal Plain Province; common in the Interior Low Plateaus; and occurs in isolated counties in the Blue Ridge Province.

Climbs by tendrils and its flowers have a sweet musky fragrance.  Many home orchard catalogs offer selections of this species.  It is the primary ancestor of the slip-skin Concern, or ‘Labruscana’ varieties.  Among wild grapes, it usually has better-tasting berries than most.  Grapes (technically berries) have a strong, sweet taste but skin is thick and bitter, causing a person to spit out this part of the grape.  Needs a warm, sunny location for fruit to ripen.  Cultivars are available.  Spreads by re-seeding itself and can be weedy. Dense leafy cover of the vines provides good nesting habitat for birds.  Fruit attracts a wide variety of birds and mammals.  Leaves are fed on by a wide variety of insects which in turn provide food for nesting birds to feed their babies.

Fox Grape - Vitis labrusca 4
Photo Courtesy of John Hilty
Fox Grape - Vitis labrusca 2
Photo Courtesy of John Hilty
Fox Grape - Vitis labrusca 3
Photo Courtesy Steve C. Garske, Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium,
Fox Grape - Vitis labrusca
Photo Courtesy of John Hilty