Vitis aestivalis, the summer grape, or pigeon grape is a species of grape native to eastern North America from southern Ontario east to Maine, west to Oklahoma, and south to Florida and Texas. 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 at every 3rd node in a dense panicle 5–15 cm long. The fruit is a small grape 5–14 mm diameter, dark purple or black in color. It is the official state grape of Missouri. Summer grape prefers a drier upland habitat.
- V. a. var. aestivalis
- V. a. 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
- V. a. var. lincecumii (Buckley) Munson
- V. a. var. bourquiniana, native to the south, sometimes called Vitis bourquiniana, has tomentose undersides to the leaves
Cultivation and uses
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.
- "Vitis aestivalis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
- Rhoads, Block. The Plants of Pennsylvania (2 ed.). ISBN 978-0-8122-4003-0.
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Vitis aestivalis
- Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
- Oklahoma University: Vitis aestivalis
- Appellation America: Norton / Cynthiana
- Mooney, James (1992). History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees. Historical Images. ISBN 0-914875-19-1.