Ampelopsis cordata Michx.

Raccoon Grape


CC = 3
CW = 0
MOC = 63

© SRTurner

Family - Vitaceae

Habit - Liana with tendrils, sometimes monoecious.

Stems - Climbing, with tight, non shredding bark. Pith continuous through nodes. Tendrils present opposite some, but not all, leaves.

Ampelopsis_cordata_stem.jpg Stem and nodes.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Alternate, toothed, unlobed or with two to four small lobes, glabrous, petiolate, truncate to cordate.

Ampelopsis_cordata_leaves1.jpg Leaves.

© SRTurner

Ampelopsis_cordata_leaf2.jpg Leaf abaxial.

© SRTurner

Inflorescence - Noticeably broader than long, horizontally branching.

Ampelopsis_cordata_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Petals 5, free, 2.0-2.8 mm long, persistent and spreading at flowering, greenish yellow. Stamens 5. Nectar disc noticeable under magnification, about half as long as the ovary, cup-shaped, the basal portion fused to the ovary, the rim free, entire or irregularly scalloped. Style often very short, sometimes persistent at fruiting.

Ampelopsis_cordata_flowers2.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Ampelopsis_cordata_flower.jpg Flower showing nectar disk.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Globose berries 7-10 mm in diameter, shiny at maturity, changing from green to pink or bluish gray and eventually to bluish or black.

Ampelopsis_cordata_fruit.jpg Fruits.

© SRTurner

Flowering - May - July. Fruits ripening September - November.

Habitat - Wet areas, disturbed sites, low woods, thickets, railroads near woods.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - Some species of Vitis.

Other info. - This species is common in most areas of Missouri. Its broader range includes most of the lower Midwest, extending southward to the Gulf Coast. In both habit and appearance it is similar to the true grapes (genus Vitis), but can be distinguished by its inflorescences, which are branched and broader than long. True grapes produce elongated clusters of fruits.

This vining plant is a vigorous climber. It can grow to the tops of very large trees, sometimes covering woodland borders with a huge kudzu-like mass. The grape-like fruits are a food source for wildlife but are not edible to humans.

Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 6-17-99 and 6-2-00, and along the Elk River, McDonald County, MO., 8-15-03 (DETenaglia); also along Riverfront Park, city of Washington, Franklin County, MO, 6-7-2018 and 7-17-2020, and along the Katy Trail near Dutzow, Warren County, MO, 8-20-2021 (SRTurner).