|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Vitaceae (from the genus Vitis, the classical name). Grape Family. Fig. 36. Mostly climbing shrubs with tendrils, seldom upright shrubs or small trees: leaves alternate or opposite, very diverse: flowers bisexual, or unisexual, small, numerous, regular; sepals 4-5, rarely 3-7, minute or obsolete; petals 4-5, rarely 3-7, valvate, separate (gamopetalous in Leea); stamens 4-5, rarely 3-7, opposite the petals, somewhat perigynous; disk evident, annular or of separate lobes; ovary superior, 2-, rarely 3-6-, celled, with 2, or rarely 1, ovule in each cell; style 1 or 0; stigma capitate or peltate: fruit a berry; seeds albuminous.
The 11 genera and about 450 species are mostly of tropical and subtropical distribution. Fourteen species reach the northeastern United States. The largest genus is Cissus with 250 species. Some fossil forms are known. The Vitaceae are closely related to the Rhamnaceae. The climbing habit, the few stamens opposite the petals, the 2-carpelled berry, and the capitate stigma are distinctive.
The petals in Vitis remain connate at the tip as in the bud, but separate from each other at the base, and fall off as a cap. The tendrils of the Vitaceae are borne at the nodes and opposite the leaves. There has been much discussion as to whether the tendrils are apical or lateral, i.e., whether the plant is sympodial or monopodial. The tips of the tendrils are in some species expanded into disk-like holdfasts. The species of Cissus are mainly desert plants. They are often cactus-like, with fleshy, angled, jointed, or terete stems; or have tubers or tuberous bases.
The most important economic plant in the family is the grape (Vitis), which has been cultivated since early times. V. vinifera is the wine grape of Europe and southern California, and has given rise to our greenhouse grapes; not hardy. V. Labrusca is one of the parents of most of our hardy grapes. V. vulpina and V. cordifolia are frost or fox grapes. Several species of Vitis are grown for ornamental purposes only. Raisins are the dried fruit of certain species of Vitis, mostly V. vinifera. Virginia creeper or woodbine (Parthenocissus [Ampelopsis] quinquefolia) and Boston ivy or Japanese ivy (P. tricuspidata) are ornamental.
A few genera are in cultivation in America: Ampelopsis; Parthenocissus or Psedera; Cissus (Kangaroo Vine); and Vitis.CH
- Ampelopsis (peppervine)
- Cissus (treebind, treebine)
- Vitis (grape)
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963