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A vigorous, deciduous, scrambling bush or climber with glabrous young shoots. Leaves thin, 3 to 8 in. wide, usually somewhat longer, broadly heart-shaped, with a finely tapered point and coarse, triangular, unequal teeth, usually more or less three-lobed, shining green on both surfaces, downy on the veins beneath; stalk from half to quite as long as the blade. Flowers sweetly scented like mignonette, produced in panicles 3 to 8 in. long. Berries globose, 1⁄3 in. in diameter, black-purple, covered thickly with blue bloom.
Native of eastern and central North America; introduced in 1806. It is worth growing for its vigorous, leafy habit and sweet-scented flowers. It strikes very readily from cuttings and has in consequence been much used as a phylloxera-proof stock on which the wine-producing vines of France have been grafted.
The confused name V. vulpina L. was applied to this species in previous editions, as by other authorities, but probably belongs properly to V. cordifolia. The two are allied, and both have a tendril missing from every third joint, but the present species differs in its more commonly three-lobed leaves with larger more persistent stipules, and in its blue-bloomed fruits. The name V. vulpina has also been used for V. rotundifolia.
V. rubra Michx.
A native of the southern central USA, allied to V. riparia. It has glabrous, bright red young branches and leaf-stalks; leaves three- or five-lobed, the lobes long and slenderly pointed. Berries black, without bloom.