Mystery Grape? Solved, Peppervine

I found this vine in North Florida near the Suwannee River.  Looks like a grape, but the leaves were not quite right for a Muscadine.  The fruit was very sweet, yes I am crazy enough to taste it even if I don’t know what it is.  I only tasted, I did not eat them.  This was in the summer when other grapes were bearing fruit in the woods.

Dan the Madison County Agricultural Agent helped me identify this as a Peppervine, a member of the grape family.  Some information I read says it is ok to eat and some says it is not.

Merriwether’s Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Texas and the Southwest @ said:  “Dangers: Some people have reported stomach upset after eating peppervine fruit. Limit yourself to small servings until you know how your body will react.”

Duke University @ said: “The fruits are NOT edible but said to have a peppery taste.”  I wonder who tasted it at Duke.

University of Texas @ said: “Fruits with Unknown Toxicity: Avoid Eating Them.” I think their lawyer must have written that.

The United States Department of Agriculture @ said it is a food source for mammals and birds.  Do you know any mammals?

Eat at your own risk, I am going to try another one the next time I find one of these vines at the 40 acre woods.

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4 Responses to Mystery Grape? Solved, Peppervine

  1. Ripp says:

    So you found these on your property? Maybe the deer like them, I would like to plant some of those.

  2. Brian says:

    Found this one just down the road by the Suwannee River around the end of August. Pretty fruit and I will look for them again this summer. I would not mind having some of these around if it will help keep the deer off my fruit trees.

  3. Richard says:

    Would you be able to help identify this strange fruit setting on my grape vine right now? Mine is a Concord grape, producing normal fruits, but I noticed this today, it looks much like a fig fruit, but why?

    • Brian says:

      I am not a grape expert.

      My best guess is That is the grape tumid gall. The insect that causes it is called, not surprisingly, the grape tumid gallmaker. The adult is a type of midge.
      The larval stage of the midge actually causes the gall. The galls usually form on leaves, but sometimes on stems, petioles and flower clusters.

      It’s generally not a major problem although if the gall forms on a flower cluster you won’t get any grapes from that cluster. There usually aren’t enough around to be an issue.

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