Thursday, September 8, 2011


No matter what weather pattern we experience, there are always some plants that flourish and some others that struggle. Apparently grapes have benefited from the past year’s weather history and are responding with an abundance of fruit. This is a cluster of fruit from the Frost Grape, Vitis vulpina.

Frost Grape is a common species that often climbs high into the tree tops. The weight of the vines and leaves is often too much for the tree branches to bear. I’ve already seen one case this week where the added weight of rain water combined with wind has brought a mass of tree branches and grape vines to ground. Of course, the mess landed right in the middle of a trail.

There’s a lot of good food here for grape eating wildlife. It’s not very often that I see this much fruit hanging from the vines. There’s not yet been any sign of feeding going on here, but the Raccoons and Opossums should be getting up into that mass very soon.

For the most part, fruits are nice and plump. Although I always eat a few wild grapes when I find them, I prefer the size and sweetness of the domesticated varieties. I’ll leave the wild grapes for the wild animals to enjoy.

Here’s the heart of the grape. When eaten and passed through the gut of a bird or mammal, those two seeds will separate and reenter the world ready to germinate and start a new grape plant. I’ve found these seeds in many different types of bird droppings and in piles of mammal scat. I’ve even tested their germination by planting them in pots and have learned that it doesn’t take much effort to get a lot of new plants. This is one of the common seeds that I find in bird boxes being used as winter roosts for bluebirds. I hope that all of these grapes mean a less stressful winter is in store for the bluebirds.


  1. What lovely photos, and interesting comments about grapes. How wonderful that they thrive despite the unpredictable weather. And it's great to know that the grape heart seed so easily grows into new plants. Guess there is always an upside to a downside:)

  2. Nice! And if you make a little homemade Frost grape wine, possibly a less stressful winter for you as well!;)

  3. Thanks, Mona. Yes, there are always two sides. It would be nice if the upside were always larger.

    Hi, Michael. What is this Stress you speak of? I don't think I've ever run into that animal.