Vitis aestivalis

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Vitis aestivalis
Vitis aestivalis (USDA).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Vitales
Family: Vitaceae
Genus: Vitis
Species: V. aestivalis
Binomial name
Vitis aestivalis

Vitis aestivalis (Summer Grape) is a species of grape native to eastern North America from southern Ontario east to Vermont, west to Oklahoma, and south to Florida and Texas.[1] It is a vigorous vine, growing to 10 m or more high in trees. The leaves are 7–20 cm long, suborbicular, and usually a little broader than long; they are variable in shape, from unlobed to deeply three- or five-lobed, green above, and densely hairy below. The flowers are produced in a dense panicle 5–15 cm long. The fruit is a small grape 5–14 mm diameter, dark purple or black in color.[2] It is the official state grape of Missouri.[3]

There are four varieties:[1]

  • Vitis aestivalis var. aestivalis.
  • Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor Deam (syn. var. argentifolia Fernald; Silverleaf Grape), formerly called Vitis bicolor, but now considered a northern variation of Vitis aestivalis. Native range is in the Northeastern United States and parts of Southern Ontario.
  • Vitis aestivalis var. lincecumii (Buckley) Munson.
  • Vitis aestivalis var. bourquiniana, native to the south, sometimes called Vitis bourquiniana, has tomentose undersides to the leaves.

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Several cultivars have been selected, including 'Norton', a cultivar with a substantial V. aestivalis background, is believed to be the oldest American grape cultivar in commercial production.

Inter specific-hybrids made with the species V. aestivalis, such as Norton, have shown several useful traits for commercial wine production when compared other North American native grape varieties. These traits include: lower acidity, neutral, "vinifera-like" flavour profile, good tannin structure, and excellent disease resistance.

Unlike most other species in genus vitis, V. aestivalis does not propagate well through dormant cuttings. This has been a limiting factor for its use in commercial viticulture despite the species' promising oenological characteristics. Propagation of V. aestivalis specimens must typically be made through layering or through green cuttings. The species typically does not tolerate highly calcareous soils.[4]

It has been claimed that a variety of Vitis aestivalis was cultivated by the Cherokees and used in some of their sacred rituals.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Germplasm Resources Information Network: Vitis aestivalis
  2. ^ Oklahoma University: Vitis aestivalis
  3. ^
  4. ^ Appellation America: Norton / Cynthiana
  5. ^ Mooney, James (1992). History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees. Historical Images. ISBN 0-914875-19-1. 

External links[edit]