Florida grape (Vitis shuttleworthii) is native to peninsular Florida. You will find it growing in pinelands and hammocks throughout Indian River County including at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. Other common names for this endemic plant include leatherleaf grape, Calusa grape and Calloose grape.
Florida grape can be differentiated from common grape (Vitis rotundifolia) by its pointy leaves, very hairy undersides, and forked tendrils. Common grape vines can grow to be 100′ long, while Florida grapes reach about 20′ long. Both grapes vines frequently can be found growing on the sunny edges of pinelands and hammocks, as well as in disturbed places.
Florida grape flowers in the spring and fruits in the summer. The unripe fruits above were photographed along Jungle Trail at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. Ripe grapes are dark red to purple black and are beloved by wildlife.