Fruit - raw or dried for winter use. The fruit can also be made into pies, preserves etc. A distinctive musky aroma and taste that is not acceptable to many people. The fruit is best after a frost. Sweetish, it contains 6.6 - 16.6% sugars. The fruit is up to 2cm in diameter and is produced in fairly large bunches. Young leaves - cooked. 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. Young tendrils - raw or cooked. Sap. Best harvested in the spring or early summer, it has a sweet flavour and makes a pleasant drink. The sap should not be harvested in quantity or it will weaken the plant[K]. An oil is obtained from the seed. This would only really be a viable crop if large quantities of grapes were being grown for wine.
The leaves are hepatic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, hepatitis, stomach aches, fevers, headaches and thrush. Externally, the leaves are poulticed and applied to sore breasts, rheumatic joints and headaches. 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.
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.
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Prefers a deep rich moist well-drained moderately fertile loam. Grows best in a calcareous soil. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though a warm sunny position is required for the fruit to ripen. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants climb by means of tendrils, they grow particularly well into elm trees. The flowers have the sweet scent of mignonette. Any pruning should be carried out in winter when the plants are dormant otherwise they bleed profusely. Cultivated for its edible fruit in N. America, where it can produce yields of up to 17 tonnes per hectare. It is the parent of several named varieties. 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. Another report says that this species is of interest for its hardiness and its ability to produce crops in cooler climates. 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 and can also be used in breeding programmes with V. vinifera in order to impart resistance to that species. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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