The wild grape vine climbs with the aid of tendrils. Most
grape vines produce deeply lobed leaves similar to the cultivated
grape. Wild grapes grow in pyramidal, hanging bunches and are
black-blue to amber, or white when ripe.
Habitat and Distribution
Wild grapes are distributed worldwide. Some kinds are found
in deserts, others in temperate forests, and others in tropical
areas. Wild grapes are commonly found throughout the eastern
United States as well as in the southwestern desert areas. Most
kinds are rampant climbers over other vegetation. The best place
to look for wild grapes is on the edges of forested areas. Wild
grapes are also found in Mexico. In the Old World, wild grapes
are found from the Mediterranean region eastward through Asia,
the East Indies, and to Australia. Africa also has several kinds
of wild grapes.
The ripe grape is the portion eaten. Grapes are rich in natural
sugars and, for this reason, are much sought after as a source
of energy-giving wild food. None are poisonous.
You can obtain water from severed grape vine stems. Cut off
the vine at the bottom and place the cut end in a container.
Make a slant-wise cut into the vine about 1.8 meters upon the
hanging part. This cut will allow water to flow from the bottom
end. As water diminishes in volume, make additional cuts further
down the vine.
To avoid poisoning, do not eat grape-like fruits with only
a single seed (moonseed).
The new leaves can be eaten raw in the spring. They can be
cooked too, until they get too old and bitter. They are also
used as an edible wrap, for cooking other foods in.