Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the August 20, 2017 Newsletter issued from Rancho Regensis north of Valladolid, Yucatán, MÉXICO

Along trails in the woods here occasionally you come across woody vines looking very much like grapevines commonly seen in North American forests. But one thinks of grapevines as Temperate Zone plants, not tropical. Still, leaves on our local vines look exactly like some of those in the North, as you can see below:

Caribbean Grape, VITIS TILIIFOLIA, leaves

In that picture the top leaf displays its silvery undersurface. The vines are fruiting nowadays, and their fruits are clustered like grapes, but they ripen to a very un-grapelike red, as shown below:

Caribbean Grape, VITIS TILIIFOLIA, fruits

In that picture notice that a forking tendril emerges from the fruit cluster's peduncle. A close-up of a fruit, a transitional whitish one between the green and red stage, is shown below:

Caribbean Grape, VITIS TILIIFOLIA, grape

Well, despite the grapes' red skin color, this is a genuine wild grape, a tropical one. Often it's known as the Caribbean Grape. It's VITIS TILIIFOLIA, found in most of Mexico, south to northern South America, as well as in the Caribbean.

The Wikipedia page for the species says that the Maya use the grapes for food and drink, but the Maya around me say they don't bother. To them it's just a vine they occasionally cut for livestock feed.