Fox Grapes – Vitis labrusca

Fox Grapes cultivar Concord
Fox Grapes cultivar Concord

 

I sit and often wonder about this little grape
How intriguing is it to ponder the structure and taste
I yearn to know more as I taste and revel with mouth agape.
Squeezed just right, and secured for ages to come with no
     great haste….

 

By R.A. Beeman

 

The fruit of the vine, the new wine of the New Testament, grapes and the wines they create have been in favor for centuries! This species is most likely the grape spotted by Leif Ericsson in the 11th century when he explored the north eastern coast of North America (Vinland). There is tons of evidence that this species of grape was growing here on this continent centuries before the European set foot here. This particular grape is the source of the cultivars Catawba, Concord, Niagara, Isabella, and Delaware!

 

The all important cultural crop, Concord grapes (from which the famous jelly is made), was first breed from wild seeds by Ephraim Bull in Concord, Massachusetts in the 19th century.

 

The grape or telvladi was used by the Cherokee Indians As a blood medicine, and antidiarrheal, a gynecological aid, and a liver aid, among other things. The Iroquois used a decoction of the roots to aid horses in fertility resulting in conception.

 

The Cherokee also used the fruit mashed with sour grape, pokeberry juice, sugar and cornmeal as a juice to drink. It was also used to make dumplings!

 

The flowers and fruit of the grape are very beneficial to wildlife, with many insects and birds drawing nourishment from it. Bumblebees, honeybees, digger bees and long-tongued bees pollinate the flowers and collect pollen from the flowers. Other insects eat leaves of suck juices from the plant.

 

Many birds like the ruffed grouse, bobwhite; northern flicker, crow, and cardinal to name a few eat the fruit, and help in the spread of the plant by dropping the seeds with their feces. Many of these same birds use the dense vines for hiding places and to nest in. Some birds will even use the bark to help in nest building.

 

White tailed deer also find the leaves and stems delectable.

 

Oil which is obtained from the grape seed is used in cosmetics, and aromatherapy massage oils. It is easily absorbed into the skin without excess greasiness. It is light and thin, leaving a glossy sheen to the skin. It helps in maintains skin moisture.

To check out other uses for grapes read my first post here

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