Grape , the fruit of woody vines of the genus vitis (the ancient Latin name), the type of the order vitacece, which includes shrubs climbing by tendrils. At each node or joint of the grape-vine is borne a leaf, with a tendril or flower cluster upon the opposite side; the leaves are long-petioled, palmately veined, variously lobed and smooth or downy in different species; in the axil of each leaf are produced two buds, one of which develops the same season, producing what the vineyardist calls "laterals," while the other remains dormant as a provision for the growth of the following year. The tendrils are branched; the branches have hooks at the ends, and when these catch hold of some supporting object the tendril coils spirally, rapidly becomes woody, and holds the vine with great firmness. The tendril may be considered as a modified branch, which in some cases bears flowers and fruit; nothing is more common than to find in our native vines clusters in which one of their branches retains its tendril character and helps to hold up the fruit.
The flowers of the wild grape arc sometimes dioecious, but in cultivated ones perfect; they are very small; the calyx short and lined with a disk, which bears the petals and stamens; petals five, cohering at the apex, and forming a little cap which in flowering falls off entire; stamens five, with a gland or lobe of the disk between each pair; a single pistil, with a two-lobed stigma, has a two-celled ovary with two ovules in each cell; this in ripening becomes a one- to four-seeded berry. The flowers of the grape are delightfully fragrant, recalling the odor of mignonette. Grapes are found in the temperate climates of both hemispheres. There is at present some con- fusion about the species, but in a horticultural view they are divided into European and American grapes. The European grape, vitis vinifera, is the species that in some of its numerous varieties is cultivated in most European and Asiatic countries. Kegel, the distinguished botanist and director of the imperial gardens at St. Petersburg, has recently given the somewhat startling opinion that V. vinifera is not a true species, but a hybrid between V. la-brusca and V. vulpina, both of which are natives of North America, Japan, Mantchooria, and the Himalaya, He bases his opinion upon the facts that the European vine is not found in a truly wild state, but only as an escape from cultivation, and that the two species suggested as its parents are found wild in that portion of Asia in which the cultivation of the vine originated.
Whatever may have been its origin, it will continue to be known by our cultivators as the European or foreign grape. Very early in the history of America attempts were made to cultivate the foreign grape in the open air, and these have been repeated from time to time up to the present day; but in no instance have they met with success east of the Rocky mountains, In exceptionally favorable localities, as in city yards, the foreign vino has here and there succeeded for a few years; but in order to grow it with certainty it must have the protection of glass. Upon the Pacific coast the case is different; the Jesuit missionaries early discovered that the soil and climate were adapted to the foreign grape, and after California was settled by Americans grape culture, confined almost exclusively to foreign varieties, became one of the important industries of the state. (See American Wines.) The foreign vine is distinguished from American species principally by the character of the fruit; in the latter the seeds are enveloped and held together by a more or less firm pulp, which slips from the skin, while a foreign grape may be broken open with the pulp still adhering to the skin, and the seeds so free from it that they will fall out or may be readily separated.
The cultivation of the foreign grape under glass is followed to a considerable extent both as a matter of luxury and of profit. Two modes of culture are practised: in the cold grapery, which is a glass house without artificial heat, and in the forcing grapery, which is heated and the vines brought into growth and fruiting at such times as are desired. For details reference may be had to special treatises. - Of American species of the genus vitis producing edible fruit, botanists recognize four: V. la-brusca, the northern fox grape; V. aestivalis, the summer grape; V. cordifolia, the frost grape; and V. vulpina, the muscadine or southern fox grape. Several grapes from west of the Mississippi have been described as distinct species by some botanists, but others regard them as only forms of the above. The American grapes differ so much in the wild state, in form of leaf and size, shape, and color of the fruit, that it is often difficult to decide to which species a specimen should be referred; and when they arc subjected to cultivation the variation is still more strongly marked. In no branch of fruit culture has there been greater progress than in the cultivation of American grapes.
Twenty-five years ago the Catawba and Isabella were the only kinds grown to any considerable extent, while at the present time the varieties are numbered by hundreds, and additions are yearly made to the list. In the article American Wines the leading varieties are named, and the species from which they are supposed to have originated indicated. In the vineyards of the eastern states the growing of the fruit for market is quite as important as raising it for wine, and in the wine districts the fruit is packed and shipped as table fruit so long as it will bring a price above that at which it can be profitably crushed for wine. By keeping them at a low temperature some varieties may be preserved in good condition for several months after they are gathered. Aside from the commercial value of the grape, it is of great importance as one of the few fruits that can be conveniently produced in cities and towns. While judicious treatment is essential to the best results, it will grow and bear fruit under the most adverse circumstances, and it is cultivated for its abundant shade as well as for its fruit. Within a few years a new class of grapes has sprung up, produced by hybridizing native varieties with the foreign.
Mr. Rogers of Salem, Mass., was the first to attempt this upon an extensive scale, but the varieties he produced are not very strongly marked with the characteristics of the foreign vine. Dr. Wylie of Chester, S. C, Mr. Underbill of Croton Point, N. Y., and others, have produced varieties which in the fruit make a near approach to the exotic grape, while the foliage is more like that of its native parent. - The vine is propagated with the greatest ease by layers and from cuttings; in commercial nurseries the propagation is from cuttings, except with a few varieties that take root with difficulty, and these are grown from layers. Cuttings of the last season's growth of wood removed in the autumn pruning, with two or three buds upon each, are buried in a dry place until spring, and then set out in rows with one bud at the surface of the ground and the others below; with some varieties a large percentage of such cuttings will form roots and make salable vines by autumn; other kinds are very uncertain when treated in this way, and these are started under glass, from what are called single eyes, which consist of one bud with a short piece of the wood attached; these eyes are planted in a bed of sand, and by a proper management of heat and moisture roots and leaves are soon formed, when the young plants are transferred to a rich soil.
Vines are sometimes propagated, especially in the case of rare kinds, from cuttings of green shoots, but planters do not approve of vines thus produced. In the matter of pruning and training there is a considerable difference of opinion and practice among vine-yardists, but they all agree in controlling the growth of the vine within certain bounds. Whatever the system of pruning, its successful practice depends upon a knowledge of the manner of growth of the vine. The fruit of a vine is produced upon shoots which in spring push from buds upon branches or canes which grew the season before. If a young vine consisting of a single stem having 20 buds is left unprun-ed, the majority of these buds will develop as shoots; the few uppermost will start first and be the most vigorous, while those below will be weak; at the end of the season such a vine will have two or three strong canes above and a few slender ones below; the next year, if still unpruned, the stronger canes will follow the same course as did the single one, and the most vigorous growth and the fruit-bearing buds will be still further from the root; and if the vine be allowed to grow entirely wild for several years, fruit will be found only upon the extreme branches.
One great object in pruning is to keep the fruit-bearing portion of the vine near the ground; another is to keep up a constant supply of fruit-bearing wood, and another to so regulate the amount of fruit borne by each vine that it shall attain the greatest possible development and excellence. The methods of pruning are thoroughly discussed in the recent treatises upon grape culture. - The vine grower has many enemies to contend with, one of the most destructive of which is mildew, which consists of two or more forms or species of parasitic fungi. The most common mildew upon native grapes, peronospora, appears as small grayish patches of down on the under side of the leaves, and on the young shoots and fruit stalks; if not arrested, it soon destroys the foliage of the vine and checks the development of the fruit. Flowers of sulphur, frequently and persistently applied by means of a bellows invented for the purpose, will prevent the further spread of this destructive parasite. Another form of mildew, oidium or erysiphe, makes its appearance on the upper side of the leaves and on the fruit, especially upon exotic vines under glass, though in certain situations and in very dry seasons it attacks vineyards of the native grape; one form of "rot" upon the fruit is due to this.
Insects of various kinds, from the time the leaf begins to expand until the fruit is gathered, demand the constant vigilance of the cultivator. Of late years a minute aphis-like insect has been discovered, though its ravages were noticed long before the cause was ascertained, the phylloxera vastatrix; this attacks both the roots and the leaves, but not always to the same degree in all varieties; those that have descended from the summer grape (V. aestivalis) seem to be more exempt from its attacks than others. In Europe the devastations of this insect have been so great as to completely destroy the grape industry in parts of France as well as in other vine-growing countries. It is believed in France that the insect was introduced from this country, and in 1873 the commissioner of agriculture sent M. Planchon to investigate the habits of phylloxera in what they regard as its native localities. The best history of this insect will be found in the third, fourth, and fifth reports of C. V. Riley, state entomologist of Missouri, which are comprised in the reports of the Missouri state board of agriculture for 1870, '71, and '72. No satisfactory remedy has been discovered. - The principal varieties of foreign and native grapes are described in Downing's "Fruit and Fruit Trees of America" (revised ed., 1869) and other general works upon fruits.
Special treatises upon the grape are numerous; the most important to the American cultivator are "American Grape Grower's Guide," by William Chorlton, and "Grape Culture and Wine Making," by A. Haraszthy, both mainly devoted to the foreign grape; "The Grape Culturist," by A. S. Fuller; " Grapes and Wine," by George Hussmann; and "Culture of the Grape," by W. C. Strong.
European Grape (Vitis vinifera).
Flower of the Grape. magnified.
1. Young flower. 2. Vertical section of flower. 8. Flower without corolla.