CLICK HERE and you'll see a bulletin from the Ohio State University's Extension Office that attempts to make the case that grapes are noxious, and alert interested parties to their perils. They make reference to "abandoned vines only", but I'm not sure what that means. Most grapevines, and the best most productive grapevines (using my criteria) certainly appear abandoned, untended, and thoroughly unkempt.
Yet these two species are highly productive when it comes to contributing to food webs, and play host to some of our most interesting herbivores. Birds galore feast on their fruit, or dine on the legions of insects that feed on the plants. Many insects, in fact, are totally wedded to plants in the grape family. Cerulean Warblers, recognizing the treasure trove of food spawned by grape tangles, seem to be rather intimately associated with grapes during the breeding season, even using the shreddy bark of the vines for nest construction.
COOL STUFF). We encountered an especially lush patch of Riverbank Grape, and like all good caterpillar-hunters, I paid close attention to the tangled vines. It wasn't long before one of our party let out a shriek - they had found a very cool cat indeed!
This shy little beast is a Beautiful Wood-Nymph caterpillar, Eudryas grata, and it is another in a long line of grape specialists.
This little show just touches the tip of the Vitaceous iceberg of animal life spawned by the lowly grape. A book could be written on the ecological intricacies of these underappreciated plants.