Ampelopsis cordata Michx.

Raccoon Grape

Ampelopsis cordata plant

Family - Vitaceae

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

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

Ampelopsis cordata leaf surfaceAdaxial surface.

Ampelopsis cordata leaf surfaceAbaxial surface.

Inflorescence - Noticeably broader than long, horizontally branching.

Ampelopsis cordata inflorescenceInflorescence.

Flowers - Creamy white. Petals separate, small, 2-3mm in length. Fruits globose, 5-7mm in diameter, bluish when mature, glabrous.

Ampelopsis cordata flowersFlowers.

Ampelopsis cordata fruitsFruits.

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

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

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is a common Missouri species. I have encountered areas where this plant is much more abundant than any of its grape relatives, genus Vitis, and has climbed to the very top of some very tall trees (20-30m). This species does produce a grape-like fruit but it is not edible. The easiest way to distinguish between this species and the true grapes is to notice that the flower clusters of this species are compact and usually wider than long. Grapes have clusters which are elongated.

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 (SRTurner).