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A very vigorous deciduous climber, growing to a great height when support is available; branchlets round, glabrous or loosely downy. Leaves very large, 4 to 12 in. across, about as much long, varying from deeply three- or five-lobed to scarcely lobed at all, teeth shallow and broad, pointed at the apex, deeply heart-shaped at the base, dull green, ultimately glabrous above, covered beneath with more or less persistent floss which is rusty red at first, changing to brown with age. Flowers in panicles up to 8 or 10 in. long. Berries globose, 1⁄3 in. in diameter, black with a blue bloom, agreeably flavoured.
Native of the eastern and central United States; introduced in the 17th century. On the young stems there is a tendril missing from every third joint, and in its large-leaved state it can thus be distinguished from V. labrusca, which has a tendril or panicle opposite every leaf. The viticultural variety ‘Norton’s Virginia’ is near to V. aestivalis.
Sweet Winter Grape
This vine, a native of the central and southern USA, is allied to, and was at one time regarded as a variety of V. aestivalis. It has angular, downy branchlets (as contrasted with the round, almost glabrous ones of V. aestivalis); the down beneath the leaf is grey or whitish, and the berries have little or no bloom.
V. bourquiniana Munson