Vitis labrusca is a high climbing woody vine, often with sexes on separate plants (dioecious); bark brown, shredding, twigs densely reddish-wooly, tendrils/flowers on 3 successive nodes.
Leaves alternate, densely wooly-felted below, young leaves rusty-wooly, mature leaves gray or rusty-wooly on lower surface; 3-lobed above, base deeply round-lobed, margin prominently toothed; leaves expand mid-late May; winter plant leafless 180 days (Britton 1874).
Flowers tiny, green, fragrant, insect pollinated; blooms May-June; inflorescence about 6 cm long.
Fruit dark blue, 1.5-2.5 cm wide; Sept. Soon dropping; 4-seeded, seeds to 0.8 cm long 0.6 cm wide. Seed load 6%. Pulp nutrients: water 88%, lipid 1%, protein 5%, CHO 53%. Fruit eaten and seeds dispersed by birds and mammals, including black bears, raccoons, coyotes, foxes, skunks and opossum (Wilson 1993; White 1989).
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Frequent.
Habitat: Moist second growth woods and edges.