Local Flora


wild grape

     Our neighborhood is surrounded by a storm water management area (commonly called a floodplain area) where there are certain tracts of land that structures cannot be built on.  Because of this the neighborhood has some grassy and wooded areas where native plants and trees grow wild.

     There is an abundance of wild flora in the area, some I recognize, some I don't.  Here is a sampling of what's growing.

     There are several species of wild grape in Virginia, most of which are similar and difficult to tell apart.  The most common are Fox grape, Summer grape, and Riverbank grape.  Wild grapes are woody vines that can grow along the ground or climb over 30 feet tall on other vegetation.  There is lots of this growing in the wooded areas covering other bushes and tree trunks.  Some species have leaves that are divided into 3 to 5 lobes.  The leaves are toothed along the edge and taper to a point.  The vines use tendrils to grab onto other plants.  Small, green flowers bloom May to July.  The purplish-black fruit ripens August to October.


     Pokeweed (or pokeberry, pokebush, poke sallet) is a bushy, non-woody perennial that can grow from 3 to 10 feet tall and resemble a small tree.  It has lance-shaped leaves.  The small, white flowers appear on long racemes
from May until frost and form purple-black berries.  About the time the berries start to ripen, the stem turns from green to red.  Although all parts of the plant are supposedly toxic, very young shoots and leaves are sometimes cooked and eaten as greens.  Young shoots and leaves are less toxic and cooking reduces the toxicity further.  The juice from the berries was once used for ink and dye.  I've seen only a few of these in this area.

wild raspberry

     There are a couple of large stands of wild raspberry at the edge of the woods.  This shrub with soft, woody stems can produce canes up to 5 feet tall.  The canes are usually upright, but can trail along the ground, spreading by roots produced where the canes meet the ground.  The stems have thorns, and three leaflets emerge from each bud along the stem.  The leaves are oval and have toothed edges.  The shrub produces small, five-petal white flowers.  The most common berries produced are red and black, but there are yellow and purple varieties.  Raspberry tea from the roots and leaves have been used for a wide variety of ailments.  In this photo you can see some wild grape growing over the raspberry bush.  There is so much more growing in the woods that I am not familiar with that I will have to do some research to satisfy my curiosity.

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