Most Viewed- Vergennes
- The Grapery
- Purple Cornichon
- Ripening Dates And Length Of Season For Grapes
- Bagging Grapes
- Rose Of Peru
- By-products Of Grape Industries
- Winter-protection Of Grapes
Least Viewed- Selecting And Preparing The Vines
- Grein Golden
- Grape Regions And Their Determinants
- Renewing Fruiting Wood
- Empire State
- Fern Munson
- Pruning And Training Distinguished
- Lignan Blanc
Species Of American Grapes
The number of species of grapes in the world depends on the arbitrary
limits set for a species of this fruit, and knowledge of the genus is
yet too meager to set these limits with certainty. Indeed, the men who
have made grape species have seldom been able to outline the habitats
of their groups with much certainty. In habitat, it should be said,
grapes are confined almost wholly to temperate and subtropical
regions. However, the grape-grower is not much concerned with species
of grapes other than those that have horticultural value. Of these, in
America, there are now ten more or less cultivated either for fruit or
for stocks. The following descriptions of these ten species are
adapted from the author's The Grapes of New York, published in 1908 by
the state of New York (Chapter IV, pages 107-156).
CONSPECTUS OF CULTIVATED SPECIES OF VITIS
A. Skin of mature berry separating freely from the pulp.
B. Nodes without diaphragms; tendrils simple.
1. V. rotundifolia.
2. V. Munsoniana.
BB. Nodes with diaphragms; tendrils forked.
C. Leaves and shoots glabrous at maturity and without
bloom; tendrils intermittent.
D. Leaves thin, light, bright green, generally glabrous
below at maturity except perhaps in the axils of the
veins with a long or at least a prominent point and
usually long and sharp teeth or the edge even-jagged.
E. Leaves broader than long; petiolar sinus usually wide
3. V. rupestris.
EE. Leaves ovate in outline; petiolar sinus usually
medium to narrow.
4. V. vulpina.
DD. Leaves thick, dull colored or grayish-green, often
holding some close, dull pubescence below at maturity,
shoots and leaves nearly always more or less pubescent
when young; the teeth mostly short.
5. V. cordifolia.
6. V. Berlandieri.
CC. Leaves rusty or white tomentose or glaucous blue below,
thick or at least firm.
D. Leaves flocculent or cobwebby or glaucous below when
7. V. aestivalis.
8. V. bicolor.
DD. Leaves densely tomentose or felt-like beneath
throughout the season; covering white or rusty white.
E. Tendrils intermittent.
9. V. candicans.
EE. Tendrils mostly continuous.
10. V. Labrusca.
AA. Skin and pulp of mature berry cohering. (Old World.)
11. V. vinifera.
1. Vitis rotundifolia, Michx. Muscadine Grape. Bull Grape. Bullet
Grape. Bushy Grape. Bullace Grape. Scuppernong. Southern Fox Grape.
Vine very vigorous, sometimes, when without support, shrubby and
only three or four feet high; when growing in the shade often
sending down aerial roots. Wood hard, bark smooth, not scaling,
with prominent warty lenticels; shoots short-jointed, angled, with
fine scurfy pubescence; diaphragms absent; tendrils intermittent,
simple. Leaves small, broadly cordate or roundish; petiolar sinus
wide, shallow; margin with obtuse, wide teeth; not lobed; dense in
texture, light green color, glabrous above, sometimes pubescent
along veins below. Cluster small (6-24 berries), loose; peduncle
short; pedicels short, thick. Berries large, globular or somewhat
oblate, black or greenish-yellow; skin thick, tough and with a
musky odor; pulp tough; ripening unevenly and dropping as soon as
ripe. Seeds flattened, shallowly and broadly notched; beak very
short; chalaza narrow, slightly depressed with radiating ridges
and furrows; raphe a narrow groove. Leafing, flowering and
ripening fruit very late.
The habitat of this species is southern Delaware, west through
Tennessee, southern Illinois, southeastern Missouri, Arkansas (except
the northwestern portions), to Grayson County, Texas, as a northern
and western boundary, to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf on the east
and south. It becomes rare as one approaches the western limit but is
common in many sections of the great region outlined above, being most
abundant on sandy, well-drained bottom lands and along river banks and
in swampy, thick woodlands and thickets. The climate most suitable for
Rotundifolia is that in which cotton grows, and it thrives best in the
lower portions of the cotton-belt of the United States.
The fruit of Rotundifolia is very characteristic. The skin is thick,
has a leathery appearance, adheres strongly to the underlying flesh
and is marked with lenticel-like russet dots. The flesh is more or
less tough but the toughness is not localized around the seed as in
the case of Labrusca. The fruit and most of the varieties of the
species are characterized by a strong, musky aroma and are lacking in
sugar and acid. Some varieties yield over four gallons of must to the
bushel. Wine-makers are divided in opinion as to its value for
wine-making, but at present the most promising outlook for
Rotundifolia varieties is as wine, grape-juice and culinary grapes.
Rotundifolia does not produce fruit suitable for shipping as dessert
grapes chiefly because the berries ripen unevenly and when ripe drop
from the cluster. The common method of gathering the fruit of this
species is to shake the vines at intervals so that the ripe berries
drop on sheets spread below the vines. The juice which exudes from the
point where the stem is broken off causes the berries to become
smeared and gives them an unattractive appearance. Owing, however, to
the tough skin, the berries do not crack as badly as other grapes
would under the same conditions, but nevertheless they are not adapted
to long-distance shipments. Under reasonably favorable conditions, the
vines attain great age and size and when grown on arbors, as they
often are, and without pruning, they cover a large area.
Rotundifolia is remarkably resistant to the attacks of all insects and
to fungal diseases. The phylloxera do not attack its roots and it is
considered as resistant as any other, if not the most resistant of all
American species. The vines are grown from cuttings only with
difficulty and this prevents the use of this species as a resistant
stock. However, under favorable circumstances, and with skillful
handling, this is a successful method of propagation. Under
unfavorable circumstances, or when only a few vines are desired, it is
better to depend on layers. As a stock upon which to graft other
vines, this species has not been a success. There is great difficulty
in crossing Rotundifolia with other species, but several Rotundifolia
hybrids are now on record.
2. Vitis Munsoniana, Simpson. Florida Grape. Everbearing grape. Bird
Grape. Mustang Grape of Florida.
Vine slender, usually running on the ground or over low bushes.
Canes angular; internodes short; tendrils intermittent, simple.
Leaves smaller and thinner than Rotundifolia and rather more
circular in outline; not lobed; teeth open and spreading; petiolar
sinus V-shaped; both surfaces smooth, rather light green. Cluster
with more berries but about the same size as in Rotundifolia.
Berry one-third to one-half the diameter, with thinner and more
tender skin; black, shining; pulp less solid, more acid and
without muskiness. Seeds about one-half the size of those of
Rotundifolia, similar in other respects. Leafing, flowering and
ripening fruit very late.
The habitat of V. Munsoniana is central and southern Florida and the
Florida Keys. It extends south of the habitat of Rotundifolia and
blends into this species at their point of meeting. Munsoniana appears
to be a variation of Rotundifolia, fitted to subtropical conditions.
It is tender, not enduring a lower temperature than zero. In the
matter of multiplication, it differs from V. rotundifolia in that it
can be propagated readily from cuttings. Like Rotundifolia it is
resistant to phylloxera.
3. Vitis rupestris, Scheele. Mountain Grape. Rock Grape. Bush Grape.
Sand Grape. Sugar Grape. Beach Grape.
A small, much branched shrub or, under favorable circumstances,
climbing. Diaphragm thin; tendrils few, or if present, weak,
usually deciduous. Leaves small; young leaves frequently folded on
midrib; broadly cordate or reniform, wider than long, scarcely
ever lobed, smooth, glabrous on both surfaces at maturity;
petiolar sinus wide, shallow; margin coarsely toothed, frequently
a sharp, abrupt point at terminal. Cluster small. Berries small,
black or purple-black. Seeds small, not notched; beak short,
blunt; raphe distinct to indistinct, usually showing as a narrow
groove; chalaza pear-shaped, sometimes distinct, but usually a
depression only. Leafing, blossoming and ripening early.
This species is an inhabitant of southwestern Texas, extending
eastward and northward into New Mexico, southern Missouri, Indiana and
Tennessee to southern Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. Its
favorite places are gravelly banks and bars of mountain streams or the
rocky beds of dry watercourses. This species is rather variable both
in type and growth. It was introduced into France at about the same
time as Vulpina, and the French vineyardists selected the most
vigorous and healthy forms for grafting stock. These pass under the
various names of Rupestris Mission, Rupestris du Lot, Rupestris
Ganzin, Rupestris Martin, Rupestris St. George and others. In France,
these varieties have given particularly good results on bare, rocky
soils with hot, dry exposures. In California, Rupestris does not
flourish in dry locations, and as it suckers profusely and does not
take the graft as readily as Vulpina and AEstivalis, it is not largely
The clusters of fruit are small, with berries about the size of a
currant and varying from sweet to sour. The berry is characterized by
much pigment under the skin. The fruit has a sprightly taste wholly
free from any disagreeable foxiness. Rupestris under cultivation is
said to be very resistant to rot and mildew of the foliage. The vine
is considered hardy in the Southwest. The attention of hybridizers was
attracted to this species over thirty years ago, and various hybrids
have been produced of great promise for grape-breeding. The root
system of Rupestris is peculiar in that the roots penetrate at once
deeply into the ground instead of extending laterally as in other
species. Like those of Vulpina, the roots are slender, hard and
resistant to phylloxera. The species is easily propagated by cuttings.
The vines bench-graft readily but are difficult to handle in field
4. Vitis vulpina, Linn. (V. riparia, Michx.). Winter Grape. River
Grape. Riverside Grape. Riverbank Grape. Sweet-scented Grape.
Vine very vigorous, climbing. Shoots cylindrical or angled,
usually smooth, slender; diaphragms thin; tendrils intermittent,
slender, usually bifid. Leaves with large stipules; leaf-blade
large, thin, entire, three- or lower ones often five-lobed;
sinuses shallow, angular; petiolar sinus broad, usually shallow;
margin with incised, sharply serrate teeth of variable size; light
green, glabrous above, glabrous but sometimes pubescent on ribs
and veins below. Cluster small, compact, shouldered; peduncle
short. Berries small, black with a heavy blue bloom. Seeds two to
four, small, notched, short, plump, with very short beak; chalaza
narrowly oval, depressed, indistinct; raphe usually a groove,
sometimes distinct. Very variable in flavor and time of ripening.
Vulpina is the most widely distributed of any American species of
grape. It has been discovered in parts of Canada north of Quebec and
from thence southward to the Gulf of Mexico. It is found from the
Atlantic coast westward, most botanists say, to the Rocky Mountains.
Usually it grows on river banks, on islands or in upland ravines.
Vulpina has always been considered of great promise in the evolution
of American grapes. It can hardly be said that it has fulfilled
expectations, there probably being no pure variety of this species of
more than local importance, and the results of hybridizing it with
other species have not been wholly successful. Attention was early
turned to Vulpina because of the qualities presented by the vine
rather than those of the fruit, particularly its hardiness and vigor.
However, both of these qualities are rather variable, although it is
only reasonable to suppose that in such a widely distributed species,
plants found in a certain region would have adapted themselves to the
conditions there present; thus, it should be expected that the
northern plants would be more hardy than those from the South, and
that the western prairie forms would be more capable of resisting
drouth than those from humid regions. It is, consequently, impossible
to say what conditions best suit this species. It may be said,
however, that Vulpina is adapted to a great variety of soils and
locations; vines have withstood a temperature of 40 to 60 degrees
below zero and they show equal ability in withstanding the injurious
effects of high temperatures in the summer. On account of its habit of
early blooming, the blossoms sometimes suffer from late frosts in the
While Vulpina is not a swamp grape and is not found growing under
swampy conditions, it is fond of water. In the semi-arid regions
always, and in humid regions usually, it is found growing along the
banks of streams, in ravines, on the islands of rivers and in wet
places. It is not nearly so capable of withstanding drouth as
Rupestris. Vulpina likes a rather rich soil, but in France has been
found to do poorly on limestone land and calcareous marls. The French
tell us, however, that this is a characteristic of all our American
grapes, and that Vulpina is more resistant to the injurious effects of
an excess of lime than either Rupestris or AEstivalis.
The fruit of Vulpina is usually small, there being occasional
varieties of medium size or above. The clusters are of medium size
and, if judged from the standpoint of number of berries, might
frequently be called large. The flavor is usually sharply acid but
free from foxiness or any disagreeable wild taste. If eaten in
quantity, the acidity is likely to affect the lips and end of the
tongue. When the acidity is somewhat ameliorated, as in the case of
thoroughly ripe or even over-ripe and shriveled fruit, the flavor is
much liked. The flesh is neither pulpy nor solid and dissolves in the
mouth and separates readily from the seed. The must of Vulpina is
characterized by an average amount of sugar, varying considerably in
the fruit from different vines, and by an excess of acid.
Vulpina is very resistant to phylloxera, the roots are small, hard,
numerous and branch freely. The roots feed close to the surface and do
not seem to be well adapted to forcing their way through heavy clays.
Vulpina grows readily from cuttings and makes a good stock for
grafting, its union with other species being usually permanent. When
Vulpinas were first sent to France to be used as a stock in
reconstituting the French vineyards, it was found that many of the
vines secured from the woods were too weak in growth to support the
stronger-growing Viniferas. On this account the French growers
selected the more vigorous forms of the Vulpinas, to which they gave
varietal names, as Vulpina Gloire, Vulpina Grand Glabre, Vulpina
Schribner, Vulpina Martin and others. With these selected Vulpinas,
the graft does not outgrow the stock. Vulpina is less resistant to
black-rot than AEstivalis but somewhat more resistant than Labrusca.
The foliage is rarely attacked by mildew. One of the chief failings
of this species is the susceptibility of the leaves to the attack of
the leaf-hopper. The Vulpinas are generally late in ripening; the
fruit is better in quality in long seasons and should be left on the
vines as late as possible.
5. Vitis cordifolia, Michx. Winter Grape. Frost Grape. Fox Grape.
Chicken Grape. Heart-leaved Vitis. Possum Grape. Sour Winter Grape.
Vine very vigorous, climbing. Shoots slender; internodes long,
angular, usually glabrous, sometimes pubescent; diaphragms thick;
tendrils intermittent, long, usually bifid. Leaves with short,
broad stipules; leaf-blade medium to large, cordate, entire or
indistinctly three-lobed; petiolar sinus deep, usually narrow,
acute; margin with coarse angular teeth; point of leaf acuminate;
upper surface light green, glossy, glabrous; glabrous or sparingly
pubescent below. Clusters medium to large, loose, with long
peduncle. Berries numerous and small, black, shining, little or no
bloom. Seeds medium in size, broad, beak short; chalaza oval or
roundish, elevated, very distinct; raphe a distinct, cord-like
ridge. Fruit sour and astringent and frequently consisting of
little besides skins and seeds. Leafing, flowering and ripening
fruit very late.
Owing to the fact that Cordifolia and Vulpina have been badly
confused, the limits of the habitat of this species are difficult to
determine. The best authorities give the northern limit as New York or
the Great Lakes. The eastern limit is the Atlantic Ocean and the
southern limit, the Gulf of Mexico. It extends westward, according to
Engelmann, to the western limits of the wooded portion of the
Mississippi Valley in the North, and, according to Munson, to the
Brazos River, Texas, in the South. It is found along creeks and river
banks sometimes mixed with Vulpina, having about the same soil
adaptations as that species. It is a very common species in the middle
states and frequently grows on limestone soils, but is not indigenous
to such soils.
Cordifolia makes a good stock for grafting, being vigorous and forming
a good union with most of our cultivated grapes. It is seldom used
for this purpose, however, on account of the difficulty of propagating
it by means of cuttings. For the same reason vines of it are seldom
found in cultivation.
6. Vitis Berlandieri, Planch. Mountain-Grape. Spanish Grape. Fall
Grape. Winter Grape. Little Mountain Grape.
Vine vigorous, climbing; shoots more or less angled and pubescent;
pubescence remaining only in patches on mature wood; canes mostly
with short internodes; diaphragms thick; tendrils intermittent,
long, strong, bifid or trifid. Leaves with small stipules;
leaf-blade large, broadly cordate, notched or shortly three-lobed;
petiolar sinus rather open, V- or U-shaped, margin with broad but
rather shallow teeth, rather dark glossy green above, grayish
pubescence below when young; becoming glabrous and even glossy
except on ribs and veins, when mature. Clusters large, compact,
compound, with long peduncle. Berries small, black, with thin
bloom, juicy, rather tart but pleasant tasting when thoroughly
ripe. Seeds few, small, short, plump, oval or roundish, with short
beak; chalaza oval or roundish, distinct; raphe narrow, slightly
distinct to indistinct. Leafing, flowering and ripening fruit very
Berlandieri is a native of the limestone hills of southwest Texas and
adjacent Mexico. It grows in the same region with V. monticola, but
is less restricted locally, growing from the tops of the hills down
and along the creek bottoms of these regions. Its great virtue is that
it withstands a soil largely composed of lime, being superior to all
other American species in this respect. This and its moderate degree
of vigor have recommended it to the French growers as a stock for
their calcareous soils. The roots are strong, thick, and very
resistant to phylloxera. It is propagated by cuttings with comparative
ease, but its varieties are variable, some not rooting at all easily.
While the fruit of this species shows a large cluster, the berries are
small and sour, and Berlandieri is not regarded as having promise for
culture in America.
7. Vitis aestivalis, Michx. Blue Grape. Bunch Grape. Summer Grape.
Little Grape. Duck-shot Grape. Swamp Grape. Chicken Grape. Pigeon
Vine very vigorous, shoots pubescent or smooth when young;
diaphragms thick; tendrils intermittent, usually bifid. Leaves
with short, broad stipules; leaf-blade large, thin when young but
becoming thick; petiolar sinus deep, usually narrow, frequently
overlapping; margin rarely entire, usually three- to five-lobed;
teeth dentate, shallow, wide; upper surface dark green; lower
surface with more or less reddish or rusty pubescence which, in
mature leaves, usually shows in patches on the ribs and veins;
petioles frequently pubescent. Clusters long, not much branched,
with long peduncle. Berries small, with moderate amount of bloom,
usually astringent. Seeds two to three, of medium size, plump,
smooth, not notched; chalaza oval, distinct; raphe a distinct
cord-like ridge. Leafing and ripening fruit late to very late.
The division of the original species has reduced the habitat
materially, confining it to the southeastern part of the United States
from southern New York to Florida and westward to the Mississippi
River. AEstivalis grows in thickets and openings in the woods and shows
no such fondness for streams as Vulpina, or for thick timber as
Labrusca, but is generally confined to uplands. Under favorable
circumstances, the vines grow to be very large. AEstivalis is
preeminently a wine grape. The fruit usually has a tart, acrid taste,
due to the presence of a high percentage of acid, but there is also a
large amount of sugar, the scale showing that juice from this species
has a much higher percentage of sugar than the sweeter-tasting
Labruscas. The wine made from varieties of AEstivalis is very rich in
coloring matter and is used by some European vintners to mix with the
must of European sorts in order to give the combined product a higher
color. The berries are destitute of pulp, have a comparatively thin,
tough skin and a peculiar spicy flavor. The berries hang to the bunch
after becoming ripe much better than do those of Labrusca.
This species thrives in a lighter and shallower soil than Labrusca and
appears to endure drought better, although not equaling in this
respect either Vulpina or Rupestris. The French growers report that
AEstivalis is very liable to chlorosis on soils which contain much
lime. The leaves are never injured by the sun and they resist the
attacks of insects, such as leaf-hoppers, better than any other
American species under cultivation. AEstivalis is rarely injured by
black-rot or mildew, according to American experience, but French
growers speak of its being susceptible to both. The hard roots of
AEstivalis enable it to resist phylloxera, and varieties with any great
amount of the blood of this species are seldom seriously injured by
this insect. An objection to AEstivalis, from a horticultural
standpoint, is that it does not root well from cuttings. Many
authorities speak of it as not rooting at all from cuttings, but this
is an over-statement of the facts, as many of the wild and cultivated
varieties are occasionally propagated in this manner, and some
southern nurseries, located in particularly favorable situations, make
a practice of propagating it by this method. Varieties of this species
bear grafting well, especially in the vineyard.
Vitis aestivalis Lincecumii, Munson. Post-oak Grape. Pine-wood Grape.
Vine vigorous, sometimes climbing high upon trees, sometimes
forming a bushy clump from two to six feet high; canes
cylindrical, much rusty wool on shoots; tendrils intermittent.
Leaves very large, almost as wide as long; entire or three-,
five-, or rarely seven-lobed; lobes frequently divided; sinuses,
including petiolar sinus, deep; smooth above, and with more or
less rusty pubescence below. (The north-Texas, southwestern
Missouri and northern Arkansas form shows little or no pubescence
but has fine prickly spines at base of shoots and shows much blue
bloom on shoots, canes and the under side of the leaves.) Fruit
small to large, usually larger than typical AEstivalis, usually
black, with heavy bloom. Seeds larger than AEstivalis, pear-shaped;
Lincecumii inhabits the eastern half of Texas, western Louisiana,
Oklahoma, Arkansas and southern Missouri on high sandy land,
frequently climbing post-oak trees, hence the name, post-oak grape, by
which it is locally known.
Lincecumii has attracted considerable attention through the work of H.
Jaeger and T. V. Munson in domesticating it, both of whom considered
it one of the most, if not the most, promising form from which to
secure cultivated varieties for the Southwest. The qualities which
recommend it are: First, vigor; second, capacity to withstand rot and
mildew; third, hardiness and capacity to endure hot and dry summers
without injury; fourth, the large cluster and berry which were found
on certain of the wild vines. The fruit is characteristic because of
its dense bloom, firm, yet tender texture and peculiar flavor. The
cultivated varieties have given satisfaction in many sections of the
Central Western and Southern states. Like AEstivalis, it is difficult
to propagate from cuttings.
The north-Texas glaucous form of this variety mentioned in the
technical description above is the V. aestivalis glauca of Bailey.
This is the type of Lincecumii that Munson has used in breeding work.
Vitis aestivalis Bourquiniana, Bailey. Southern AEstivalis.
Bourquiniana differs chiefly from the type in having thinner leaves;
the shoots and under side of the leaves are only slightly
reddish-brown in color; the pubescence usually disappears at maturity;
the leaves are more deeply lobed than is common in AEstivalis; and the
fruit is larger, sweeter and more juicy. Bourquiniana is known only in
cultivation. The name was given by Munson, who ranks the group as a
species. He includes therein many southern varieties, the most
important of which are: Herbemont, Bertrand, Cunningham and Lenoir,
grouped in the Herbemont section; and Devereaux, Louisiana and Warren,
in the Devereaux section. Munson has traced the history of this
interesting group and states that it was brought from southern France
to America over one hundred fifty years ago by the Bourquin family of
Savannah, Georgia. Many botanists are of the opinion that
Bourquiniana is a hybrid. The hybrid supposition is corroborated to a
degree by the characters being more or less intermediate between the
supposed parent species, and also by the fact that up to date no wild
form of Bourquiniana has been found. The only northern variety of any
importance supposed to have Bourquiniana blood is the Delaware, and in
this variety only a fraction of Bourquiniana blood is presumably
present. Bourquiniana can be propagated from cuttings more easily than
the typical AEstivalis but not so readily as Labrusca, Vulpina or
Vinifera. Many of the varieties of Bourquiniana show a marked
susceptibility to mildew and black-rot; in fact, the whole Herbemont
group is much inferior in this respect to the Norton group of
AEstivalis. The roots are somewhat hard, branch rather freely and are
quite resistant to phylloxera.
8. Vitis bicolor, Le Conte. Blue Grape. Northern Summer Grape.
Vine vigorous, climbing; shoots cylindrical or angled, with long
internodes, generally glabrous, usually showing much blue bloom,
sometimes spiny at base; diaphragms thick; tendrils intermittent,
long, usually bifid. Leaves with short, broad stipules; leaf-blade
large; roundish-cordate, usually three-, sometimes on older growth
shallowly five-lobed, rarely entire; petiolar sinus variable in
depth, usually narrow; margin irregularly dentate; teeth
acuminate; glabrous above, usually glabrous below and showing much
blue bloom which sometimes disappears late in the season; young
leaves sometimes pubescent; petioles very long. Cluster of medium
size, compact, simple; peduncle long. Berries small, black with
much bloom, acid but pleasant tasting when ripe. Seeds small,
plump, broadly oval, very short beak; chalaza oval, raised,
distinct; raphe distinct, showing as a cord-like ridge.
Bicolor is readily distinguished from AEstivalis by the absence of the
reddish pubescence and by blooming slightly later. The habitat of
Bicolor is to the north of that of AEstivalis, occupying the
northeastern, whereas AEstivalis occupies the southeastern quarter of
the United States. Like AEstivalis, this species is not confined to
streams and river banks but frequently grows on higher land also. It
is found in north Missouri, Illinois, southwestern Wisconsin, Indiana,
southern Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York,
southwestern Ontario, New Jersey and Maryland and by some botanists is
reported as far south as western North Carolina and west Tennessee.
The horticultural characters of Bicolor are much the same as those of
AEstivalis. About the only points of difference are that it is much
hardier (some of the Wisconsin vines stand a temperature as low as 20
degrees below zero); it is said to be slightly less resistant to
mildew and more resistant to phylloxera. Like AEstivalis, Bicolor does
not thrive on limy soils and it is difficult to propagate from
cuttings. The horticultural possibilities of Bicolor are probably much
the same as those of AEstivalis, although many think it to be more
promising for the North. It is as yet cultivated but little. Its chief
defect for domestication is the small size of the fruit.
9. Vitis candicans, Englem. Mustang Grape.
Vine very vigorous, climbing; shoots and petioles densely wooly,
whitish or rusty; diaphragm thick; tendrils intermittent. Leaves
with large stipules; blade small, broadly cordate to
reniform-ovate, entire or in young shoots and on young vines and
sprouts usually deeply three- to five-, or even seven-lobed; teeth
shallow, sinuate; petiolar sinus shallow, wide, sometimes lacking;
dull, slightly rugose above, dense whitish pubescence below.
Clusters small. Berries medium to large, black, purple, green, or
even whitish, thin blue bloom or bloomless. Seeds usually three or
four, large, short, plump, blunt, notched; chalaza oval,
depressed, indistinct; raphe a broad groove.
The habitat of this grape extends from southern Oklahoma, as a
northern limit, southwesterly into Mexico. The western boundary is the
Pecos River. It is found on dry, alluvial, sandy or limestone bottoms
or on limestone bluff lands and is said to be especially abundant
along upland ravines. Candicans grows well on limestone lands,
enduring as much as 60 per cent of carbonate of lime in the soil. The
species blooms shortly before Labrusca and a week later than Vulpina.
It requires the long hot summers of its native country and will stand
extreme drouth but is not hardy to cold, 10 or 15 degrees below zero
killing the vine outright unless protected; and a lesser degree of
cold injuring it severely. The berries, which are large for wild
vines, have thin skins under which there is a pigment which gives
them, when first ripe, a fiery, pungent taste but which partly
disappears with maturity. The berries are very persistent, clinging to
the pedicel long after ripe. Candicans is difficult to propagate from
cuttings. Its roots resist phylloxera fairly well. It makes a good
stock for Vinifera vines in its native country, but owing to the
difficulty of propagation is seldom used for that purpose. In the
early days of Texas, it was much used for the making of wine but as it
is deficient in sugar, and as the must retains the acrid, pungent
flavor, it does not seem to be well adapted for this purpose. It is
not regarded as having great promise for southern horticulture and
certainly has none for the North.
10. Vitis Labrusca, Linn. Fox-Grape.
Vine vigorous, stocky, climbing; shoots cylindrical, densely
pubescent; diaphragms medium to thick; tendrils continuous,
strong, bifid or trifid. Leaves with long, cordate stipules;
leaf-blade large, thick, broadly cordate or round; entire or
three-lobed, frequently notched; sinuses rounded; petiolar sinus
variable in depth and width, V-shaped; margin with shallow,
acute-pointed, scalloped teeth; upper surface rugose, dark green,
on young leaves pubescent, becoming glabrous when mature; lower
surface covered with dense pubescence, more or less whitish on
young leaves, becoming dun-colored when mature. Clusters more or
less compound, usually shouldered, compact; pedicels thick;
peduncle short. Berries round; skin thick, covered with bloom,
with strong musky or foxy aroma. Seeds two to four, large,
distinctly notched, beak short; chalaza oval in shape, indistinct,
showing as a depression; raphe, a groove.
Labrusca is indigenous to the eastern part of North America, including
the region between the Atlantic Ocean and the Alleghany Mountains. It
is sometimes found in the valleys and along the western slopes of the
Alleghanies. Many botanists say it never occurs in the Mississippi
Valley. In the first-named area it ranges from Maine to Georgia. It
has the most restricted habitat of any American species of
horticultural importance, being much exceeded in extent of territory
by V. rotundifolia, V. aestivalis and V. vulpina.
Labrusca has furnished more cultivated varieties, either pure-breeds
or hybrids, than all other American species together. The reason for
this is partly, no doubt, that it is native to the portion of the
United States first settled and is the most common grape in the region
where agriculture first advanced to the condition at which fruits were
desired. This does not wholly account for its prominence, however,
which must be sought elsewhere. In its wild state, Labrusca is
probably the most attractive to the eye of any of our American grapes
on account of the size of its fruit, and this undoubtedly turned the
attention of those who were early interested in the possibilities of
American grape-growing to this species rather than to any other.
The southern Labrusca is quite different from the northern form and
demands different conditions for its successful growth; in the North,
at least two types of the species may be distinguished. Vines are
found in the woods of New England which resemble Concord very closely
in both vine and fruit, excepting that the grapes are much smaller in
size and more seedy. There is also the large-fruited, foxy Labrusca,
usually with reddish berries, represented by such cultivated varieties
as Northern Muscadine, Dracut Amber, Lutie and others. Labrusca is
peculiar amongst American grapes in showing black-, white- and
red-fruited forms of wild vines growing in the woods. Because of this
variability, it is impossible to give the exact climatic and soil
conditions best adapted to the species. It is reasonable to suppose,
however, that the ideal conditions for this species under cultivation
are not widely different from those prevailing where the species is
indigenous. In the case of Labrusca, this means that it is best
adapted to humid climates, and that the temperature desired varies
according to whether the variety comes from the southern or northern
form of the species.
The root system of Labrusca does not penetrate the soil deeply, but
the vine is said to succeed better in deep and clayey soils than
AEstivalis. It endures an excess of water in the soil, and, on the
other hand, requires less water for successful growing than AEstivalis
or Vulpina. In spite of its ability to withstand clayey soils, it
seems to prefer loose, warm, well-drained sandy lands to all others.
The French growers report that all varieties of this species show a
marked antipathy to a limestone soil, the vines soon becoming affected
with chlorosis when planted in soils of this nature. In corroboration
of this, it may be said that Labrusca is not often found wild in
limestone soils. The Labruscas succeed very well in the North and
fairly well in the Middle West as far south as Arkansas, where they
are raised on account of their fruit qualities, for here the vines are
not nearly so vigorous and healthy as are those of other species. In
Alabama, they are reported to be generally unsatisfactory, and in
Texas the vines are short-lived, unhealthy, and generally
unsatisfactory, particularly in the dry regions. There are some
exceptions to this, as for instance, in the Piedmont region of the
Carolinas, where, owing to elevation or other causes, the climate of a
southern region is semi-northern in its character.
The grapes of Labrusca are large and usually handsomely colored. The
skin is thick, covering a layer of adhering flesh, which gives the
impression of its being thicker than it actually is; the berry is
variable in tenderness, sometimes tough, but in many cultivated
varieties is so tender that it cracks in transportation. The skin of
this species usually has a peculiar aroma, generally spoken of as
foxy, and a slightly acid, astringent taste. Beneath the skin there is
a layer of juicy pulp, quite sweet and never showing much acidity in
ripe fruit. The center of the berry is occupied by rather dense pulp,
more or less stringy, with considerable acid close to the seeds. Many
object to the foxy aroma of this species, but, nevertheless, the most
popular American varieties are more or less foxy. Analyses show that
the fruit is usually characterized by a low percentage of sugar and
acid, the very sweet-tasting fox-grapes not showing as high a
sugar-content as some of the disagreeably tart AEstivalis and Vulpina
sorts. This, in addition to the foxiness which furnishes an excess of
aroma in the wine, has prevented Labrusca varieties from becoming
favorites with the wine-makers, but most of the grape-juice now
manufactured is made from them.
In addition to the characters enumerated, it may be said that Labrusca
submits well to vineyard culture, is fairly vigorous and generally
quite productive. It grows readily from cuttings and in hardiness is
intermediate between Vulpina, the hardiest of our American species,
and AEstivalis. The roots are soft and fleshy (for an American grape)
and in some localities subject to attacks of phylloxera. None of the
varieties of Labrusca has ever been popular in France on this account.
In the wild vines, the fruit is inclined to drop when ripe. This
defect is known as "shattering" or "shelling" among grape-growers and
is a serious weakness in some varieties. Labrusca is said to be more
sensitive in its wild state to mildew and black-rot than any other
American species, but the evidence on this point does not seem to be
wholly conclusive. In the South, and in some parts of the Middle West,
the leaves of all varieties of Labrusca sunburn and shrivel in the
latter part of the summer. The vines do not endure drouth as well as
AEstivalis or Vulpina and not nearly so well as Rupestris.
11. Vitis vinifera, Linn.
Vine variable in vigor, not so high climbing as most American
species; tendrils intermittent. Leaves round-cordate, thin,
smooth, and when young, shining, frequently more or less deeply
three-, five-, or even seven-lobed; usually glabrous but in some
varieties the leaves and young shoots are hairy and even downy
when young; lobes rounded or pointed; teeth variable; petiolar
sinus deep, narrow, usually overlapping. Berries very variable in
size and color, usually oval though globular. Seeds variable in
size and shape, usually notched at upper end and characterized
always by a bottle-necked, elongated beak; chalaza broad, usually
rough, distinct; raphe indistinct. Roots large, soft and spongy.
The original habitat of the species is not positively known. De
Candolle, as noted in the first part of this work, considered the
region about the Caspian Sea as the probable habitat of the Old World
grape. There is but little doubt that the original home of V.
vinifera is some place in western Asia.
Neither American nor European writers agree as to the climate desired
by Vinifera, for the reason, probably that all of the varieties in
this variable species do not require the same climatic conditions.
There are certain phases of climate, however, that are well agreed on:
the species requires a warm, dry climate and is more sensitive to
change of temperature than American species. Varieties of this species
can be grown successfully in a wide variety of soils, being much less
particular as to soils than American sorts.
Certain characters of the fruit of this species are not found in any
American forms: First, the skin, which is attached very closely to the
flesh and which is never astringent or acid, can be eaten with the
fruit; second, the flesh is firm, yet tender, and uniform throughout,
differing in this respect from all American grapes which have a sweet,
watery and tender pulp close to the skin with a tough and more or less
acid core at the center; third, the flavor has a peculiarly sprightly
quality known as vinous; fourth, the berry adheres firmly to the
pedicel, the fruit seldom "shattering" or "shelling" from the cluster.
In the various hybrids that have been made between American and
Vinifera varieties, it is usually found that the desirable qualities
of Vinifera are inherited in about the same proportion as the
undesirable ones. The fruit is improved in the hybrid but the vine is
weakened; quality is usually purchased at the expense of hardiness and
disease-resisting power. Vinifera may be grown very readily from
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