The California wild grape grows along streams and rivers and thrives in damp areas; however, like most other native California plants it can withstand periods of dry conditions
Vitis californica is a deciduous vine which can grow to over 10 m (33 ft) in length. It climbs on other plants or covers the ground with twisted, woody ropes of vine covered in green leaves. In the fall the leaves turn many shades of orange and yellow.
Bunches of small and often sour but edible purple grapes hang from the vines in autumn. The grapes provide an important food source for a variety of wild animals, especially birds, and the foliage provides thick cover. The grapes are a common sight along the banks of the Sacramento River.
The wild grape is strong and robust, and viticulturists worldwide often use it as rootstock for their wine grapes. In some areas where the plant is not native it has the capacity to become a noxious weed.
Vitis californica is cultivated as an ornamental plant. The interesting shape and color of the leaves and the lush, trainable vines make this species an attractive garden plant. This vine is commonly used in native plant gardens, where once established it thrives without summer water.
The cultivar 'Roger's Red' (named for noted horticulturist Roger Raiche) turns brilliant red in fall and is a hybrid with a wine grape, Vitis vinifera Alicante Bouschet. The cultivar 'Walker Ridge' turns yellow in the autumn.
- Jepson Flora: Vitis californica
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vitis californica.|
- Jepson Manual Treatment - Vitis californica
- USDA Plants Profile: Vitis californica (California wild grape)
- US Forest Service Fire Ecology
- Vitis californica - U.C. Photo gallery
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