Edible uses


Fruit - raw or dried for winter use[1][2][3][4][5]. The fruit can also be made into pies, preserves etc[6]. A distinctive musky aroma and taste that is not acceptable to many people[7][6][8]. The fruit is best after a frost[9]. Sweetish[10], it contains 6.6 - 16.6% sugars[11]. The fruit is up to 2cm in diameter[8] and is produced in fairly large bunches[12]. Young leaves - cooked[13][14]. A pleasant acid flavour, they are cooked as greens or can be wrapped around other foods and then baked, when they impart a pleasant flavour[6]. Young tendrils - raw or cooked[13][15][14]. Sap. Best harvested in the spring or early summer, it has a sweet flavour and makes a pleasant drink[9]. The sap should not be harvested in quantity or it will weaken the plant[K]. An oil is obtained from the seed[3][4]. This would only really be a viable crop if large quantities of grapes were being grown for wine.



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Material uses

A yellow dye is obtained from the fresh or dried leaves[16]. The plant is used as a rootstock for the common grape, V. vinifera, especially in areas where phylloxera disease is prevalent[4].

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Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The leaves are hepatic[17]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, hepatitis, stomach aches, fevers, headaches and thrush[18][17]. Externally, the leaves are poulticed and applied to sore breasts, rheumatic joints and headaches[18][17]. The wilted leaves have been applied as a poultice to the breasts to draw away soreness after the birth of a child[257. An infusion of the bark has been used to treat urinary complaints[17].

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Ecosystem niche/layer


Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


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Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[K]. 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.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Vitis labrusca. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a deep rich moist well-drained moderately fertile loam[1][8]. Grows best in a calcareous soil[8]. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though a warm sunny position is required for the fruit to ripen[8]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants climb by means of tendrils[19], they grow particularly well into elm trees[20]. The flowers have the sweet scent of mignonette[21]. Any pruning should be carried out in winter when the plants are dormant otherwise they bleed profusely[19][8]. Cultivated for its edible fruit in N. America, where it can produce yields of up to 17 tonnes per hectare[6]. It is the parent of several named varieties[1][10][6]. However, it is of no value as a fruit bearer in Britain, requiring hotter summers than are usually experienced in this country in order to ripen its fruit[7]. Another report says that this species is of interest for its hardiness and its ability to produce crops in cooler climates[8]. Resistant to Phylloxera disease, a disease that almost destroyed the European grape crops. This species can be used as a rootstock in areas where the disease is prevalent[4] and can also be used in breeding programmes with V. vinifera in order to impart resistance to that species[6]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[8].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Vitis labrusca. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Vitis labrusca.




None listed.


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Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Vitis labrusca
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    3. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    4. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
    6. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    7. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    8. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    9. ? Turner. N. J. and Szczawinski. A. Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences (1978-00-00)
    10. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (1977-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)
    13. ? Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds. Pivot Health (1973-00-00)
    14. ? McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana. Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-28925-4 (1977-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    17. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    18. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.1 Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
    20. ? Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
    21. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)

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