Other Common Names:
The other common names for the grape vine are Fox Grape, Grape, Grape seed and Vine.
Vitis vinifera is part of the Vitaceae family, which comprises 17 genera, mostly woody or herbaceous lianas primarily inter-tropical in their distribution. Only one genus, Vitis, produces edible berries.
It contains about 60 dioecious species that are distributed almost equally between America and Asia and represent a considerable resource for resistance to pathogens. The medicinal and nutritional value of grapes (Vitis vinifera) has been heralded for thousands of years. Egyptians consumed this fruit at least 6,000 years ago, and several ancient Greek philosophers praised the healing power of grapes -- usually in the form of wine.
Perennial, woody climbing vine; stems up to 35 m long, but in cultivation usually reduced by annual pruning to 1-3 m; leaves thin, circular to circular-ovate, 5-23 cm broad, margins dentate or jagged, basal sinus deep and lobes often overlapping, 5-7-lobed, glabrescent above, often with persistent tomentum beneath; tendrils branched, normally opposite 2 leaves out of three; flowers numerous, in dense panicles or thyrses opposite leaves; flower clusters and tendrils absent at every third node; calyx very shortly 5-lobed; petals about 5 mm, pale green, sweet-scented; fruit a soft, pulpy berry, skin adhering to pulp, oval or oblong, ellipsoid to globose, skin green, yellow, red or purplish-black, in large, long clusters; seeds 2-3, sometimes none, pyriform, with rather long beak.
Grapes are native to Asia near the Caspian Sea, but were brought to North America and Europe: European settlers brought grapes to North America in the 1600s. Thus it is widely distributed in Eastern Europe.
They are generally seen on damp woods and riverside. The vines are cultivated in all warm temperate regions in most of the vine growing regions of the world. The plant prefers light, medium and heavy and well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic alkaline soils. It can grow in semi-shade or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil.
Grapes are propagated from cuttings, field-budding or graftings to resistant rootstock. Cultivation should be shallow, only 7.5-10 cm deep. If erosion is a problem, cultivate only enough to prevent weeds from becoming a problem. Leave trash and some growth on land and have some pockets to catch water in soil. Growth of vines may be restricted by seeding a fast growing cover crop which will compete for nutrients and moisture. Since grapevines often outlive those who plant them, and will grow and produce indefinitely with good care, they also outlive the humus supply of most soils unless replenished. Seeds are best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe.
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 season's 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.
The flowers, leaves,
raw berries and seeds
are the most commonly used parts
of the vine for its commercial and medicinal purposes.
The scented hermaphrodite flowers of the grapes are in bloom from May to July.
Pests and Diseases
Grapes are affected by a great many fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, insects and mineral deficiencies. Local problems should be resolved with local agricultural agents. Spraying grapes for control of insects and diseases is essential to production of fruit. Cotton root rot of grape is caused by the soil borne fungus Phymatotrichopsis omnivora (Phymatotrichum omnivorum). At low elevations, the first symptom of infection is wilting of the leaves or a fast decline. Disease may develop quickly in summer months and plants die with leaves still on the plant in a few days.
• It is used in treating children with celiac disease, intolerance to grains that contain gluten such as wheat, rye, oats, and barley.
• An ointment is made from the sap in the stems to cure skin and eye diseases.
• Leaves were astringent and hemostatic, that is, they were used to stop bleeding, inflammation, and pain, such as the kind brought on by hemorrhoids.
• Unripe grapes treated sore throats; dried grapes, or raisins, treated consumption, constipation, and thirst.
• The round, ripe, sweet grapes, however, had the most uses of all; used to treat cancer, cholera, smallpox, nausea, eye infections, and skin, kidney, and liver diseases.
• The skin is also soothed by wine vinegar, which is also astringent and cooling to the body at the same time.
• The juice, prepared in various manners, is said to remedy tumours of the tonsils, excrescences of the seat, tumours of the fauces, indurations, and tumours of the neck, chronic tumours, and hard cancers.
• Grape seed extract may also be useful in the treatment of lymphedema, varicose veins, cancer, premenstrual syndrome, dental caries, and circulatory disorders.
• Grape seed leaves are turned into a herbal infusion for use in the treatment of diarrhea, as well as in the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding in women, and in treating uterine hemorrhage.
• The red grape leaf infusion is also used as a herbal wash for treating canker sores, as well as a douche for treating excess vaginal discharge in women.
• Grape seed extract may also be helpful in those with asthma and allergies.
• Cultured for fruit, eaten fresh or processed into wine, raisins, juice, with some cultivars adapted for the canning industry.
• Grape seeds contain 6-20% oil, used for edible purposes, soaps, and as a linseed substitute.
• The ash of the burnt branches is used to make discoloured teeth white by rubbing them with it in the morning.
• Cream of tartar, extracted from the residue of pressed grapes, is used in making fluxes for soldering.
• A yellow dye is obtained from the fresh or dried leaves..
• The fruit juice can be concentrated and used as a sweetener.
• It is used in making baking powder.