Hello again. today we’ll be looking at a local native plant cayratia clematidea, commonly known as Slender Grape. It belongs to the Vitaceae family which also contains edible grapes and native Cissus vines. Its a herbaceous scrambling climber with stems to 2m long that occurs on the edges of rainforests north of Shoalhaven Gorges in NSW. Its a pioneer species, filling sunny gaps and this combined with its soft foliage can give it a weedy appearance. Although it can be easily pruned away it has the potential.
To smother small plants but isn’t vigorous enough to kill established trees. People new to bush regeneration often confuse this plant with the exotic pest balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) which has 9 leaflets instead of 5 but otherwise looks quite similar. I’ve accidently pulled a few out myself too, as they can sometimes be tangled in amongst other weeds and vines. Fortunately the plant forms an underground tuber up to 5cm in diametre from which it can reshoot. In fact, the local indigenous people gathered the tubers of this.
Species and prepared them by beating them on stones before roasting them. it often dies off in dry periods during Autumn and sprouts again in Spring from these underground energy reserves. These tubers also give the plant the ability to resprout after fires. The plant flowers during Summer with clusters of small greenishwhite flowers with 4 petals borne on long, multiplebranched stalks. It’s early Spring at the moment so this one is unfortunately not in flower. The 5 to 7 mm wide berries that follow start off green and.
Turn black as they ripen. each fruit contains 2 to 4 seeds and the fruit are likely to be eaten by birds which disperse the seeds. The compound leaves are alternate and are comprised of 5 leaflets in a palmate (or palm shaped) arrangement. The 2 leaflets closest to the stem on both sides arise from a shared branch. The furthest leaflet is normally the largest with the 2 closest to the stem being the smallest. The leaflets are lobed and are not glossy either above or below. The stems, leaves and flowers can also sometimes have.
Sparse hairs. the leaves are the food plant for the larvae of the joseph’s coat moth, Agarista agricola. The leaves normally either have a tendril of flower inflorescence opposite them. The tendrils help the plant to climb by wrapping around other plant stems or in this case by adhering to a rough surface such as the bark of this nearby tree. The tendrils normally have 3 tips with the end 2 forming a fork, however if the tendril doesn’t find anything to attach to it can branch several more times.
Indiana Grapes Benefit from Mild Summer
For grapes the most important weather conditions of the whole growing season are those last four weeks before harvest. Especially the temperature during that time is really critical for sugar and acid balance and for flavor and aroma compounds. This year with the cool weather that we had in this last part of July leading into August has been perfect for really good fruit quality,.
Especially for the early midseason varieties in the southern part of the state. Varieties like Traminette, that’s our Indiana signature grape that’s known for its floral and aromas and spicy flavors is much better when we have warm sunny days but cool nights. To maintain the acidity and to maintain those floral and aroma compounds that are so important. It looks like this year is going to be excellent for fruit quality in Indiana.