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Vitaceae: Grape Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Plants of the Grape Family

      If you can recognize a grape, then you can identify the members of this family with their climbing vines and tendrils and the distinctive clusters of berries. The leaves are alternate, forming opposite from the tendrils and flowers. Flowers are regular and may be bisexual or unisexual, with 4 or 5 small sepals. There are 4 or 5 petals, which may be united at the tips, falling away as the flower opens. There are 4 or 5 stamens. The ovary is positioned superior. It consists of 2 (rarely 3 to 6) united carpels (syncarpous) with the partition walls present, forming an equal number of chambers. It matures as a berry with 1 to 2 seeds per cell. Worldwide, there 12 genera and 700 species, including 4 genera in North America, as listed below. Most members of the Grape family have edible leaves, stems, sap, and berries. The vegetation is often mildly astringent.

Key Words: Vining plants with tendrils and berries.

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Vitis riparia. Wild Grape.

Vitis riparia. Wild Grape.

Vitis riparia. Wild Grape.

Vitis riparia. Wild Grape. Pompeys Piller National Monument. Near Billings, Montana.

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Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
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Botany in a Day
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