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Vitis vinifera - L.                
                 
Common Name Grape
Family Vitaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Riversides and damp woods[200]. Grows on the banks of the Thames at Kew in Britain[17].
Range E. Europe. Naturalized in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of climber
Vitis vinifera is a deciduous Climber growing to 15 m (49ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Vitis vinifera Grape


Vitis vinifera Grape
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Fruit;  Leaves;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Fruit - raw or dried for winter use[1, 2, 11, 46]. The dried fruits are the raisins, sultanas and currants of commerce, different varieties producing the different types of dried fruit. A fully ripened fresh fruit is sweet, juicy and delicious[K]. The fruit juice can be concentrated and used as a sweetener[183]. This fruit is widely used in making wine[183]. Leaves - cooked[55]. Young leaves are wrapped around other foods and then baked, they impart a pleasant flavour[183]. Young tendrils - raw or cooked[85]. The flower clusters are used as a vegetable[183]. An edible oil similar to sunflower oil is obtained from the seed[7, 183]. It needs to be refined before it can be eaten[46]. A polyunsaturated oil, it is suitable for mayonnaise and cooking, especially frying[238]. Sap - raw. Used as a drink, it has a sweet taste. The sap can be harvested in spring and early summer, though it should not be taken in quantity or it will weaken the plant. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[7]. Cream of tartar, also known as potassium bitartrate, a crystalline salt, is extracted from the residue of pressed grapes, and from the sediment of wine barrels. It is used in making baking powder[238].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Analgesic;  Antiinflammatory;  Astringent;  Bach;  Demulcent;  Diuretic;  Hepatic;  Laxative;  Lithontripic;  Miscellany;  Skin;  
Stomachic.

Grapes are a nourishing and slightly laxative fruit that can support the body through illness, especially of the gastro-intestinal tract and liver[254]. Because the nutrient content of grapes is close to that of blood plasma, grape fasts are recommended for detoxification[254]. Analgesic[178]. The fresh fruit is antilithic, constructive, cooling, diuretic and strengthening[4, 218]. A period of time on a diet based entirely on the fruit is especially recommended in the treatment of torpid liver or sluggish biliary function[7]. The fruit is also helpful in the treatment of varicose veins, haemorrhoids and capillary fragility[254]. The dried fruit is demulcent, cooling, mildly expectorant, laxative and stomachic[218]. It has a slight effect in easing coughs[254]. The leaves, especially red leaves, are anti-inflammatory and astringent[4, 7, 218, 254]. A decoction is used in the treatment of threatened abortion, internal and external bleeding, cholera, dropsy, diarrhoea and nausea[4, 218, 254]. It is also used as a wash for mouth ulcers and as douche for treating vaginal discharge[254]. Red grape leaves are also helpful in the treatment of varicose veins, haemorrhoids and capillary fragility[254]. The leaves are harvested in early summer and used fresh or dried[238]. The seed is anti-inflammatory and astringent[4, 7, 218]. The sap of young branches is diuretic[7]. It is used as a remedy for skin diseases[218, 240] and is also an excellent lotion for the eyes[4, 7, 254]. The tendrils are astringent and a decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[7]. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Dominating', 'Inflexible' and 'Ambitious'[209].
Other Uses
Dye;  Miscellany;  Oil.

A yellow dye is obtained from the fresh or dried leaves[168]. An oil from the seed is used for lighting and as an ingredient in soaps, paints etc[46, 61]. Cream of tartar, extracted from the residue of pressed grapes, is used in making fluxes for soldering[238]. Especially when growing in hotter countries than Britain, the stems of very old vines attain a good size and have been used to supply a very durable timber[4].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a deep rich moist well-drained moderately fertile loam[1, 200]. Grows best in a calcareous soil, but dislikes excessively chalky soils[200]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7[200] but tolerates a range from 4.3 to 8.6. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though a warm sunny sheltered position is required for the fruit to ripen[200]. Very commonly grown in the temperate zones of the world for its edible fruit, there are many named varieties, some of which have been developed for their use as a dried fruit, others for dessert use and others for wine[132, 183]. Good and regular crops are a bit problematical in Britain, grapes are on the northern most limits of their range in this country and the British summer often does not provide enough heat to properly ripen the fruit. Late frosts can also damage young growth in spring, though dormant shoots are very hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c[11]. Nonetheless, there are a number of commercial vineyards in Britain (usually producing wine grapes) and, given a suitably sunny and sheltered position, good dessert grapes can also be grown. In general it is best to grow the dessert varieties against the shelter of a south or west facing wall[219]. There are a number of varieties that have been bred to cope with cooler summers. Grapes are very susceptible to attacks by phylloxera, this disease is especially prevalent in some areas of Europe and it almost destroyed the grape industry. However, American species of grapes that are resistant to phylloxera are now used as rootstocks and this allows grapes to be grown in areas where the disease is common. Britain is free of the disease at the present (1989) and grapes are usually grown on their own roots. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. The flowers are intensely fragrant[245]. Grapes grow well in the company of hyssop, chives, basil and charlock[201]. They grow badly with radishes, both the grapes and the radishes developing an off taste[201]. Plants climb by means of tendrils[182]. Any pruning should be carried out in winter when the plants are dormant otherwise they bleed profusely[182]. The cultivated grape is thought to have been derived from V. vinifera sylvestris. (Gmel.)Hegi. This form has dioecious flowers and produces small black grapes.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[K]. Six weeks cold stratification improves the germination rate, and so stored seed is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is obtained. Germination should take place in the first spring, but sometimes takes another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in early summer. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, December/January in a frame. These cuttings can be of wood 15 - 30cm long or they can be of short sections of the stem about 5cm long with just one bud at the top of the section. In this case a thin, narrow strip of the bark about 3cm long is removed from the bottom half of the side of the stem. This will encourage callusing and the formation of roots. Due to the size of these cuttings they need to be kept in a more protected environment than the longer cuttings. Layering.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1117200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[55]Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds.
Interesting reading.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[85]Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains.
A superb book. Very readable, it gives the results of the authors experiments with native edible plants.
[132]Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth.
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[178]Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica.
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
[182]Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[209]Chancellor. P. M. Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies
Details the 38 remedies plus how and where to prescribe them.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[219]Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
vishal more Fri Feb 10 2006
photograph of the plant is most essential
Elizabeth H.
eczkocaturk@mynet.com Sun Apr 30 2006
Thanks.could you please send me more information about grape seed oil's medicinal uses sincerely...
Elizabeth H.
Ros Reeder Tue Jan 2 2007
I am looking for a product to help circulation for my lymphodema. The product I was using has now been discontinued. This is its composition: Vitis Vinifera 24g, Ribes Nigra 10g, Vitis Vinifera without juice 350mg. This was in a pill form. Can anyone help me please?
Elizabeth H.
Lawler Barnes Sun May 31 2009

Nature Abhors a Garden Nature Abhors a Garden for 10/05/08 discusses the introduction of grapes in New Mexico and the communion requirements of the Catholic church.

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