New Mexico Wildflowers: Grape Family

(Vitaceae)

 

Flowers are organized alphabetically by genus and species. Hover over a photo series to control the images.


Woodbine, Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus)

Woodbine mostly trails along the ground but can climb bushes, trees, or fences. The green flowers are brief, ugly, and inconspicuous; one is shown on the left. In the spring you're more likely to notice tiny pointed buds. It's easy to ID woodbine using the serrated five-part leaves and the berries (green in early summer; darkening to blue-black late in the year).

 

Woodbine requires decent amounts of water. In the woods you'll find a wild species, Parthenocissus inserta. In New Mexico towns you'll find woodbine as a garden plant or escapee (P. quinquefolia). For an amateur flower hunter, they're indistinguishable.

 

Canyon Grape (Vitis arizonica)

This wild species looks a lot like domestic grape vines that haven't been trained. If you find the small grapes (I never have), they're edible.

 

Years ago I read an account of two Spanish explorers who got lost in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. They avoided starving to death by eating wild grape leaves. I hope I'm never desperate enough to see if that trick actually works.