wild grape

(Vitis riparia)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

wild grape


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FACW - Facultative wetland

Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative




Common and widespread


Moist. Floodplain forests, wooded swamps, upland woods, riverbanks, thickets, and roadsides. Full sun.


Mid-June to early July

Flower Color

Greenish-white or greenish-yellow


6 to 24 when sprawling
Climbing to 66



This is a high-climbing, 6 to 24 tall when sprawling, perennial, woody vine rising from a taproot.

The vine of the current season is green to gray or brown, lightly ridged, and hairless or lightly hairy. When they mature they become covered with reddish-brown bark. On old growth the bark sheds in long, thin strips. It extends up to 50.

Tendrils form opposite most leaves but are lacking every third leaf.

The leaves are alternate, yellowish-green, 4 to 8 wide, round to egg-shaped, and lobed with a heart-shaped base. They are on long leaf stalks. The lobing pattern is highly variable, even on the same plant, but they are usually divided into 3 forward-pointing lobes. Leaf margins are sharply toothed. Young leaves are hairless on the upper side, hairy on the underside. As they mature the undersides become green and hairless except for tufts of short, soft hairs in the vein axils and sometimes along the veins.

Male and female flowers are found in separate inflorescences on the same plant. The inflorescences are borne opposite most leaves but are lacking every third leaf. They are 2 to 4 long.

Flowers are inconspicuous, tiny, greenish white or greenish-yellow and fragrant. They have 5 petals.

The fruit is a black, purple, or blue, ¼ to ½ thick juicy berry with 2 to 6 seeds. The berry has a whitish, waxy bloom at maturity.


Silverleaf grape (Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor) leaves are whitish on the underside.

Canada moonseed (Menispermum canadense) leaves are bluish-green and untoothed. There are no tendrils. The fruits are poisonous and contain a single, crescent-shaped seed.

Pests and Diseases

Grape gall midge (Schizomyia vitiscoryloides)

Grape leaf miner moth (Phyllocnistis vitegenella) creates conspicuous lines beneath the outer layer of cells (mines) that snake across the leaf surface. The mines are silvery-white with a central, broad, dark, frass line. They are unsightly but do not significantly affect the health of the plant.

Grape leaf miner moth (Phyllocnistis vitifoliella) creates conspicuous lines beneath the outer layer of cells (mines) that snake across the leaf surface. The mines are uniformly whitish with no visible frass line. They are unsightly but do not significantly affect the health of the plant.

Grape phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae)

Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.





Vitaceae (grape)











Vitis riparia var. praecox

Vitis riparia var. syrticola

Vitis vulpina var. praecox

Vitis vulpina ssp. riparia

Vitis vulpina var. syrticola


frost grape

riverbank grape

river-bank grape

wild grape













The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.


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  Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia)
Bill Keim
  Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia)  
  Vitis riparia (Riverine Grape)
Allen Chartier
  Vitis riparia (Riverine Grape)  




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

  Riverbank Grape

Published on Sep 11, 2012

  Dave's Vines
David Redic

Uploaded on Sep 13, 2008

Dave Redic shows us the two wild grapevines of northeast Ohio, Vitis Riparia, Riverbank Grape Vine, and Vitis Argentifolia, Silver Leaf Grape Vine.

  Foraging Wild Grapes

Published on Aug 14, 2013

There are many species of Native American grapes, this particular species "Vitis Riparia" also know as the frost grape has been used for over a hundred years in to create hardy domestic grapes. Small, tart, plentiful,& pungent its used to make things from wine to jams. In this video I talk about this vigorous native grape vine, & share the awesome experience of foraging them.

Song: Pigeons Under Water
Artist: Greyboy Allstars


  Riverbank Grape in Northern Wine Making

Published on Apr 16, 2014

Riverbank grape (Vitis riparia) is a grape native to North America and grows wild across much of the Northern part of the continent. While its unpleasant taste, diminutive size, and seedy texture make it more fitting for wild animal browsing than human consumption, Vitis riparia has a secret weapon - it's cold hardiness. By mixing the freeze resistant genes of riverbank with premium table grapes wine stocks for the Northern latitudes are now available.





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