Wild grapes come in many varieties at the 40 acre woods. In late April the wild grapevines seem to be growing on everything. Many are still blooming like the one pictured below growing on a fence.
Soon after the first settlers stepped off their boat with some grapevines from their homelands, the European cultivars quickly escaped into the wild and hybridized with the native muscadine grapes. Today we can enjoy a variety of taste from the grapes we encounter in the woods of Florida. The grapevines pictures below have distinctly different leaves.
It is amazing to find this much variety on a short walk around the 40 acre woods.
I can identify the native muscadines by the tendrils at the end of a growing vine. double tendrils indicate that the vine is an escaped cultivar with some European grape mixed in. Single tendrils indicate that the grape is a native muscadine.
The vine pictured on the left is an escaped cultivar.
I hope to taste some of these grape varieties later this summer in the 40 acre woods, if I can get to them before the animals. Wild grapes are usually eaten quickly by the deer, turkeys, birds, raccoons, possums, squirrels, rats and skunks that forage on this abundant fruit.
The fruit is the main thing that comes to mind when you think of grapes, but there are other uses for this abundant vine. The young leaves of the grapevine can be boiled and eaten as greens. Large grapevines can be cut into sections and large amounts of drinkable liquid can be extracted by sucking on the end like a straw. This has been quite helpful on long hikes when I was running short on water. Grapevines can also be woven into strong baskets. Wild grapes are an exciting part of the 40 acre woods.