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Biology Of Grapes, Native Grapes Of North America, Agricultural GrapesGrapes in horticulture

Grapes are various species of woody vines in the genus Vitis, family Vitaceae. This family contains about 700 species most of which occur in tropical and subtropical climates, although some occur in temperate habitats. The genus Vitis has about 50 species. Grapes are ecologically important as food for wildlife. They are also cultivated by humans in large quantities, mostly for the production of table grapes, raisins, and wines.

Some species of grapes are occasionally used in horticulture. The desired utilization is generally as a wall covering and sometimes for the visual aesthetics of the foliage in the autumn. Species commonly grown for these horticultural purposes are Vitis vinifera and V. coignetiae. The Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a closely related native species that is also often used for these purposes as is the introduced Boston ivy (P. tricuspidata).

See also Graft.



Judd, Walter S., Christopher Campbell, Elizabeth A. Kellogg, Michael J. Donoghue, and Peter Stevens. Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach. 2nd ed. with CD-ROM. Suderland, MD: Sinauer, 2002.

Klein, R. M. The Green World. An Introduction to Plants and People. New York: Harper and Row, 1987.

Raven, Peter, R. F. Evert, and Susan Eichhorn. Biology of Plants. 6th ed. New York: Worth Publishers Inc., 1998.

Bill Freedman


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—A distinct variety of a plant that has been bred for particular, agricultural or culinary attributes. Cultivars are not sufficiently distinct in the genetic sense to be considered to be subspecies.


—This is a metabolic process during which organic compounds are partially metabolized, often producing a bubbling effervescence. During the fermentation of sugar, this compound is split into carbon dioxide and an alcohol.


—This is a method by which woody plants can be propagated. A shoot, known as a scion, is taken from one plant, and then inserted into a rootstock of another plant and kept wrapped until a callus develops. The genetically based, desirable attributes of the scion are preserved, and large numbers of plants with these characteristics can be quickly and easily propagated by grafting.


—A grape that has been preserved by drying.


—A moist habitat that occurs in the vicinity of streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes.


—A raisin produced by drying a seedless grape.


—A spirally winding, clinging organ that is used by climbing plants to attach to their supporting substrate.


—A plant, usually woody, that is long and slender and creeps along the ground or climbs upon other plants.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Glucagon to Habitat