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    Vitis aestivalis Michx. Summer grape Cherokee: telû’latĭ St. Louis, MO, USA George Engelmann; September 1865 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 2018763 Missouri winemakers first began finessing the hardy native American grape more than 150 years ago, when it was brought from Virginia to the Hermann area, and known initially as the Virginia Seedling. It was considered the progeny of Dr. Daniel Norton, from whom it gets its name, though it is sometimes called `Cynthiana.’ The German settlers who founded the Missouri wine region appreciated how the Norton grape could survive in the harsh and cold conditions of the region, unlike the French vines that died easily, and how it was virtually impervious to diseases. These peduncles are the stems supporting the inflorescence (flowers) and then the infructescence (fruit) of the Summer grape that Dr. George Engelmann collected from a market in St. Louis.

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    Vitis rotundifolia Michx. Muscadine grape, Scuppernong grape, Southern Fox grape Cherokee: oonee tayluhn’dee Steep Hollow, MS, USA Sidney T. McDaniel; June 28, 1986 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 5080201 Native Americans have used V. rotundifolia grapes for food, medicine, and in some ceremonies. The Seminoles used the grapes for a snakebite remedy and as medicine for chronically ill children. Ceremonies for the dead also included V. rotundifolia. The Seminole Nation are indigenous to Florida, but also reside in Oklahoma. The Cherokee used the grape’s juices to make dumplings, mixing it with other fruit juices and adding cornmeal. Other juices made with V. rotundifolia, cornmeal, pokeberry juice, and sugar were made by the Cherokee.

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    Birch Bark Canoe Jarrod Stone Dahl Wisconsin, USA White cedar, white ash, white spruce, ash, and animal fat Ca. 2014 Collection of the Missouri Botanical Garden, William L. Brown Center, WLBC02022 This beautiful birch bark canoe was made in 2014 by a skilled craftsman, Jarrod Stone Dahl, Woodspirit Handcraft, Ashland, Northern Wisconsin. It is 14' in length and constructed with ribs and lining of white cedar (Thuja occidentalis). The thwart cross pieces are white ash wood (Fraxinus americana) and it is covered with sheets of the bark of birch trees (Betula). The parts are bound together with roots from the white spruce tree (Picea glauca) used as lashings, and joints are sealed and made waterproof with sticky resin (mixed with ash and animal fat), also from the white spruce tree (Picea glauca). The largest and smoothest birch trees are selected so that the pieces of bark would be as large as possible to prevent too much sewing of the joints. Canoes made in this way were an essential mode of transport for the Native American tribes living in the woodlands of North America before European settlement. They were important objects used for travel, fishing, hunting, and for trading goods. They were light and very buoyant, and were easily carried on one strong person’s back. They could be used even in the shallowest streams and were broad enough to be used in dangerous rapids. The birch bark canoe is a tribute to the coexistence and reliance of people on the plant resources that have been so essential for our lives since the earliest times.

    Vitis rotundifolia Michx. Muscadine grape, Scuppernong grape, Southern Fox grape Cherokee: oonee tayluhn’dee Aiken, SC, USA Henry William Ravenel; 1885 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 785798 V. Rotundifolia (aka Muscadinia rotundifolia) was the first species in in North America to be heavily cultivated and has a 400+ year history. The living proof resides on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, where the “Mothervine”, the oldest known grape vine in North America exists. North Carolina is the largest producer of muscadine, but over three hundred improved muscadine cultivars are currently growing throughout the southeastern United States. Usually dark purple or black, V. rotundifolia also produces a bronze-colored grape. Most muscadine cultivars have a distinctive and marked fragrance, containing aspects of orange blossoms and roses. Some fertile crossings with V. vinifera show vinifera-like flavors, combined with the fruiting characteristics and disease resistance of their muscadine parentage. Hybridization is also being studied to supply tolerance to cultivars grown in warm to hot humid climates of the southern United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and tropical parts of India, Thailand, and China.

    What’s in a Grape? The grape family, Vitaceae, is mostly distributed in the pantropical areas in Asia, Africa, Australia, the neotropics, and the Pacific islands, with a few genera in temperate regions. There is strong support for Vitaceae as the earliest diverging lineage of rosids—a major group of flowering plants including apples, walnuts, and chocolate. Vitis is a relatively ancient clade, and its evolution has been shaped by Earth’s climatic fluctuations and continental drift; a clade is a natural group of organisms that are composed of a common ancestor and all its lineal descendants. Vitaceae and Vitis relatives were likely widespread by the Cretaceous period, spanning multiple continents. The extinction of large, herbivorous dinosaurs after the Cretaceous Paleogene event allowed forests to grow very dense. Plants evolved several techniques to cope with high plant density; selective pressure may have pushed the ancestors of grapevines to develop tendrils and improve their climbing ability, providing a competitive edge in overcrowded forests. Vitis likely originated in North America during the Paleocene. The oldest Vitis fossils were discovered near the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains, which date back approximately 65.5–58.8 million years ago. It is not surprising that most North American fossils are found in the western United States, as the arid climate facilitates fossilization. However, genetic evidence has identified the southeastern United States as the region for the most recent common ancestor of Vitis species. The classification of Vitis is confused in part due to the lack of agreement among systematic botanists as to what constitutes a true species and because of extreme morphological variation within the species. This has led to many extraneous species names. Genetic evidence between wild American grapevines and domesticated European species suggests that grapevine species maintained large effective population sizes since their geographic isolation millions of years ago. V. sylvestris is thought to be the wild progenitor of V. vinifera, however genetic research has shown that V. sylvestris may be a more derived (not basal) species than V. vinifera. It is known that a diverse array of Vitis taxa existed throughout Europe millions of years ago; it’s possible that V. sylvestris and V. vinifera are both descendants of a now extinct common ancestor.

    The botanical mural in the open two-story gallery was painted by Leon Pomarede, a French landscape painter who immigrated to St. Louis in 1830. Today, Pomarede’s mural has been recreated to include the original plants, as well as other species found growing throughout the Garden. The central gallery is punctuated by the names of six botanists associated with important 19th-century European botanical institutions: Stephan Endlicher, John Lindley, Augustin-Pyramus de Candolle, Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu, Robert Brown, and Sir William Hooker.

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    Vitis aestivalis Michx. Summer grape Cherokee: telû’latĭ Bushberg, MO, USA Charles Valentine Riley; May 21, 1872 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 13341 Vitis aestivalis is a species of grape native to eastern North America ranging from New England to Texas and from the Atlantic to the great plains, but not to the mountains beyond. The vines produce small clusters of small berries (diameter of 5–14 mm) and are typically dark purple or black in color. V. aestivalis is often considered to be synonymous with the wine grape cultivar Norton/Cynthiana that was found in 1835 near Richmond, VA. It is believed to be the oldest American grape cultivar in commercial production. This specimen was vouchered by the Missouri State Entomologist, Charles Valentine Riley, who worked with Garden botanist Dr. George Engelmann to identify and solve the challenge of the devastating Grape phylloxera infestation in European vineyards. The plant this specimen was taken from was grown at the Bushberg nursery that propagated many species of American grapevines that were offered for sale to French vintners for grafting their grapevine scion onto American rootstock to protect against future grape phylloxera damage.

    Vitis riparia Michx. Riverbank grape Omaha: házi St. Louis, MO, USA Gerrit Davidse; July 20, 2008 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 6408911 Vitis riparia, the most widely distributed species in the northern United States, is a vigorously growing vine occurring along streams. Its grapes are sharply acidic and borne in compact clusters. Because this species is highly resistant to cold, it is often used as rootstock or as a parent in hybrid rootstock. Vitis riparia is considered by many to be the most commercially viable indigenous American species for its use as grafted root stock and in hybridization with vinifera. On the downside, V. riparia is known for overly high levels of acidity and strong herbaceous aromas. V. riparia’s strengths include its vast geographical range and soil adaptation from New England to Montana to Texas, its disease and pest resistance, and its cold hardiness down to -70 degrees Fahrenheit. V. riparia is best known for its contributions to the cultivars baco noir, marechal foch, and frontenac. This species was described by André Michaux in 1803. V. riparia is viewed in some states as a pest species because of its ability to create huge thickets and smother other plants and trees, especially in woodland edges.

    Vitis riparia Michx. Riverbank grape Omaha: házi Courtney, MO, USA Benjamin F. Bush; May 8, 1932 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 1039222 This grape has been used in different cultural foodways. The Omaha Nation use Vitis riparia dried in winter, as well as eating it fresh. Lebanese immigrants have used the leaves of the plant as the wrapper for stuffed grape leaves, which are salted, and then filled with meat and rice, and rolled up to serve. This dish is found throughout several Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures. While Vitis riparia is mostly used as grafting rootstock in the global wine industry, there is a North Dakota winery that makes wine from this grape. Proprietor Eldon Nygaard sells V. riparia wine in the United States as well as Paris, France. He notes that the berries are best picked after the frost and he employs Native Americans who live on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in southwest South Dakota to pick the fruit from their own reservation lands.

    V. rotundifolia Michaux var. munsoniana (J.H. Simpson ex Planchon) M.O. Moore Little muscadine grape, Pygmy grape, Bullace grape Lake Wales, FL, USA Derek George Burch; April 26, 1964 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 1881658 The main variant of V. rotundifolia, Vitis rotundifolia var. munsoniana, is distinguished as its own species because of its smaller and more numerous grapes. This has led to the variety being known as the little muscadine or pygmy grape. It is known as the Bullace grape in Alabama. Whereas V. rotundifolia has a wider habitat range from the south Midwest to the east coast, V. rotundifolia var. munsoniana has a stricter habitat in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida only. Vitis rotundifolia var. munsoniana’s flowers bloom green and yellow all year-round in Florida. In northern regions, the flowers tend to bloom only in April and May. The grapes have a bronze or black/purplish color to them and are born in clusters.

    V. rotundifolia Michaux var. munsoniana (J.H. Simpson ex Planchon) M.O. Moore Little muscadine grape, Pygmy grape, Bullace grape Navy Wells Pineland Preserve, Homestead, FL, USA Walter H. Lewis; February 1, 1990 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium Muscadinia contains three species: V. rotundifolia, V. munsoniana J.H.Simpson ex Planch. (native to Florida and Bahamas), and V. popenoei J.L.Fennell (from Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala). The key reason for this division has been the muscadine’s inability to successfully crossbreed with other species and create fertile offspring (similar to a donkey and a horse), due to their 40 chromosomes in contrast to 38 for all other species. Average leaves of both V. rotundifolia and V. munsoniana measure broader than long (from insertion of petiole to apex) in distinct contrast with those of V. popenoei, which are mostly not broader than long.

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    Vitis rotundifolia Michx. Muscadine grape, Scuppernong grape, Southern Fox grape Cherokee: oonee tayluhn’dee Wolf Creek, TN, USA Thomas H. Kearney, Jr.; July 30, 1894 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 2540531 V. rotundifolia is a moderately vigorous vine but roots poorly, and is adapted to dry and lime soils. Shallow-rooted V. rotundifolia is indigenous to the high humidity frequent rainfall area of southeastern U.S., and researchers have noted that aerial roots are often present on this vine. Given that present-day commercial varieties of rotundifolia grapes are self-sterile, researchers have long sought an explanation of how pollination occurs, given the large crops of fruit that are annually produced. Wind-pollinated Vitis flowers possess a type of pistil with a comparatively long style and a feathery stigma, the function of which is to catch wind-borne pollen. Such pistils are not associated with flowers of V. rotundifolia. Researchers concluded that bees are the best adapted for the transportation of pollen. Muscadine grapes are cold tolerant as they seldom sustain frost injury in the spring due to the late bloom date. When acclimated, most vines can tolerate temperatures down to about 10 °F (-12 °C) without injury.

    V. rotundifolia Michaux var. munsoniana (J.H. Simpson ex Planchon) M.O. Moore Little muscadine grape, Pygmy grape, Bullace grape Bradenton, FL, USA P. Genelle; April 13, 1975 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 2375524 The Seminole Nation uses the Little muscadine grape for medicine and food, as a pediatric aid for babies and as a snakebite remedy. This grape also has ceremonial uses, including as an emetic during rituals or eaten after a death in the community.

    Vitis rotundifolia Michx. Muscadine grape, Scuppernong grape, Southern Fox grape Cherokee: oonee tayluhn’dee River Junction, FL, USA Allen Hiram Curtiss; September 19, 1897 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 2540542 V. rotundifolia was one of the first grape phylloxera-resistant rootstocks to be employed for use as grafting rootstock in the late 19th century. At present, it serves as a parent of the rootstock hybrid `VR O39–16’. Today, V. rotundifolia is used primarily for producing wines and table grapes and jams. Recent hybridizations have flourished, including new self-fertile varieties that possess different aromatic properties are the principal muscadine cultivars grown in commercial vineyards. The excellent resistance of these cultivars to indigenous diseases, especially Pierce’s disease, has allowed them to flourish in the southeastern coastal United States. Like the V. labrusca cultivars, the low sugar content of the fruit usually requires chaptalization before vinification. The pulpy texture, tough skin, differential fruit maturation, and separation of fruit from the pedicel on maturation complicate their use in winemaking.

    Vitis riparia Michx. Riverbank grape Omaha: házi Green City, MO, USA Jane Anderson; July 10, 1981 Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium, 3284679 Vitis riparia Michaux is a vine-growing native to 34 states in the United States and five Canadian provinces; it has the largest continental distribution of the North American species. The vines of perennial V. riparia can climb up to 35 ft, and can have a trunk up to eight inches in diameter when mature. The flowers can be white, yellow, green, and brown, have around five petals each, and are fragrant. V. riparia is monoecious, with both male and female flowers present on the same plant, mixed in clusters or separated. V. riparia leaves are lobed and are four to eight inches long, with leaf edges that are hairy and toothed. In a 2017 study about the morphometrics, a quantitative analysis of the physical form of specimens, V. riparia leaves had average leaf shapes if they had cloned genotypes, but there was variation in the cloned leaves if they had been attacked by pest or disease. The leaves were also observed to have a variation in resistance response to Grape phylloxera. The berries are bluish-black, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long and contain one to six seeds. These berries are sour until they ripen after a frost and become sweet tart.

    The In-Between Lei Han and Lorraine Walsh Laser engraving on plexiglass, cedar 2021 6' 6" x 1.5" x 8' 9" Courtesy of the artists The In-Between is inspired by grafting, which is a horticultural technique defined as the natural or deliberate fusion of plant parts so that vascular continuity is established between them and the resulting genetically composite organism functions as a single plant. In this process, the upper part of the combined plant—the scion—is connected to the lower part called the rootstock. The drawings were laser engraved on plexiglass and suspended within a framework that references a traditional grapevine trellis. Thus the sculpture observes the time-honored tradition of cultivating grapes to be trained for upright or semi-upright growth habits. The top row are the scions which will be grafted with the roots below. The space in-between the plexiglass plates is where the grafting occurs. The ephemeral nature of this sculpture considers the balance and influence of climate change on grape cultivation and vine phenology today.