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Grapevine, illustration

Grapevine, illustration

Order : Grapevine-like (vitales)
Family : Grapevines (Vitaceae)
Genre : Grapevines ( vitis )
Subgenus : Euvitis
Type : grapevine
Scientific name
Vitis vinifera

The grapevine ( Vitis vinifera ) is a species in the genus Vitis . Today it is mainly native to the Mediterranean , Central Europe , Southwest Asia and the Western Cape of South Africa . The subspecies noble grapevine ( Vitis vinifera subsp. Vinifera ) is used to produce wine .


The grapevine is a shrub that climbs with tendrils and develops the shape of a liana when uncut . It can reach heights of 10 to 20 m. The shrub has a deep, richly branched rhizome and a woody trunk up to 1.5 m in circumference. Their brownish rind is peeling off in longitudinal stripes. The red-brown to brown-yellow colored branches are mostly bare and only rarely covered by felty hairs. They have fine furrows and small, punctiform bark pores. There are only 2 thin-skinned and light brown bud scales.

The rounded, heart-shaped leaves are usually clearly 3 to 5-lobed and closely indented on the petiole. They measure 5–15 cm in diameter, their base is heart-shaped and their lobes are roughly toothed and even partially cover each other. The upper side of the leaves is bare, the underside with white wool or almost tomentose hair. Usually there is a tendril opposite the leaves. The length of the petiole is 4–10 cm.

The weakly scented flowers are arranged in complex, dense panicles, the pods or inflorescences (inflorescence). The calyx is short and 5-lobed. The petals are approx. 5 mm long, yellow-green and, like the sepals, fall off early. Flowering time is from June to August.

The elongated to spherical fruits are 6–20 mm long and dark blue, purple, green or yellowish in color. Some of them are frosted. Their taste is sweet or sour. There are up to 4 seeds. These are hard-shelled, pear-shaped and have 2 elongated furrows or pits on one side.

Location and distribution

Grapevine on farm Bo La Motte ( Franschhoek )
The soils are mostly dry or moderately moist

The grapevine occurs scattered in alluvial forest in the plains and in the hill country. The soils are mostly dry or moderately moist.

The area includes the Mediterranean region, central France, southwestern Switzerland, the Upper Rhine Plain, the river basins of the Danube and Neckar as well as southern Russia and Asia Minor.

Viticulture has been practiced in South Africa since the 17th century, mainly in the coastal regions of the Western Cape , as there is an ideal climate for cultivation between the sea and the mountains.


The subspecies are known :

  • Wild grapevine ( Vitis vinifera ssp. Sylvestris (CCGmel.) Hegi )
  • Noble grapevine ( Vitis vinifera ssp. Vinifera ).


  • Gunter Steinbach (Ed.): Shrub trees , Steinbach's natural guide, Mosaik Verlag GmbH, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-576-10560-3

Web links

Commons : Grapevine ( Vitis vinifera )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files