Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Riverbank Grape - Vitis riparia   Michaux
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Section 6 » Order Rhamnales » Family Vitaceae
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AuthorMichaux
DistributionThe most poorly known grape in the state, with records only for a few counties in the northeastern Piedmont, the southern Mountains, and one in the eastern Coastal Plain (Jones). However, Weakley (2018) indicates that it occurs much more widely in the Coastal Plain than just a single county. As it occurs over much of VA, and has been found in many border counties with NC, perhaps there are some recent NC records along the VA border.

This is a Northern and Midwestern species that ranges widely, from southern Canada to most of VA, and west to the base of the Rockies. It does occur well into TX and east to MS, TN, and NC. There are no known records for SC, GA, AL, and FL.
AbundanceVery rare to rare and poorly known in the state. Should occur in counties bordering VA, where it would likely be rare. Despite it being known from just 6 counties, it is not on the NC NHP’s Watch List, perhaps owing to difficulty in identification, or simply by being overlooked; it is suspected that many biologists do not bother with grape identification. It definitely should be placed on the Watch List, if not considered as Significantly Rare. The S2? state rank was provided by editors of this website, as the NC NHP has not yet assigned a state rank.
HabitatIn NC, this species is presumed to occur mainly along larger rivers or other creeks and rivers with high pH soil, such as rich bottomlands and natural levee forests. It seems to favor banks of such waters, as the common name implies.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
PhenologyFlowers from April to June, and fruits from August to September.
IdentificationThis is still another high-climbing, deciduous woody vine, normally found close to rivers and larger creeks. The fairly large leaves are similar to others in being mostly three-lobed and about 4-5 inches long and wide. The leaves tend to have cordate bases with a rounded sinus, as opposed to sharply cordate with a pointed sinus. The leaves are typically glabrous and thus reasonably smooth and green below; in addition, they tend to be somewhat shiny looking on both sides. The branchlets are often smooth. Tendrils are present opposite most of the nodes, but in general, identify this scarce species (in the state) by its fairly shiny and glabrous leaves and twigs.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)River Grape, Frost Grape (an incorrect name, as this name is generally used for V. vulpina).
State Rank[S2?] *
Global RankG5
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