muscadine, southern fox grape, bird grape, Munson’s grape
Description: perennial vine
Place of origin: southeastern North America
Urban habitat: commonly found in parks, vacant lots, meadows, fields, woodland edges, dry sunny slopes.
Ecological function: food and habitat for wildlife.
History: Vitis rotundifolia has been extensively cultivated since the 16th century. Its fruit ranges from bronze to dark purple to black when ripe, although many wild cultivars remain green. Its grapes have been used for making wines and ports and the typical muscadine wine is considered a dessert wine. The term scuppernong refers to the bronze grapes originally grown in North Carolina. Several Native American tribes used parts of the plant medicinally. A yellow dye can be obtained from its fresh or dried leaves.