Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Mustang grape vine and cumulus clouds

with 8 comments

Mustang Grape Vine and Cumulus Clouds 2408

Click for greater size and clarity.

Here are some cumulus clouds above a large mustang grape vine, Vitis mustangensis, that gardeners at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center have trained over a trellis in the Center’s display gardens. A woman who was working there the morning I visited told me that this mustang grape had just been trimmed back because of its prolific growth. She also said that in contrast to a mustang grape on the opposite side of the courtyard, this one never produces grapes and therefore must be a male.

If you’d like to be reminded—or learn—that a mustang grape vine can grow as thick and woody as a tree, you’re welcome to check out two posts from January of 2012; one of the huge vines was curiously looped, and the other had the virtue (as we see such things) of serving as a perch for a yellow-crowned night heron.

Today’s photograph is the fourth you’re seeing from a group I took at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on July 23.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 19, 2013 at 6:11 AM

8 Responses

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  1. Good morning. A wild grape vine started up one of the locust trees at the edge of our yard this year. I trained it to follow the existing Virginia Creeper. It is over 10′ tall now. Several others along our walks are bearing nice purple grapes. They are especially sour.

    I’m off to the university blood bank to donate platelets today. Have an interesting day, Steven.

    Jim in IA

    August 19, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    • Your mention of a grape vine following a Virginia creeper reminds me that some years ago I photographed Virginia creeper and poison ivy together, the benign with the malign. In your case both are fortunately benign.

      What people in Texas have done historically with the tart fruits of the mustang grape is turn them into jelly and wine.

      Happy platelets.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 19, 2013 at 8:07 AM

  2. A friend in the hill country had a large ranch bell hung from an iron frame that was covered in these vines. A few summers ago, he stopped trimming it. The vines were equally prolific, and the frame was so large that it provided a lot of shade. We’d often see his wife out there in the afternoon, sipping a sweet tea and reading.


    August 19, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    • What you describe was true here too: there was lots of shade under this vine-covered trellis (though made of wood rather than iron), something that people in Texas appreciate during our half-year of summer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 19, 2013 at 8:22 AM

  3. Belle épaisseur en effet Steve et j’aime beaucoup la photo. J’ai été voir tes liens précédents et je suis surprise combien le tronc de l’arbre peut être important quant à l’oiseau bleu wow..
    j’ai posté mes hisbiscus, j’espère que tu pourras passer les voir et me dire si ce sont les mêmes ou presque.
    merci à toi


    August 19, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    • Chantal is wondering if the hibiscus that are flowering at her place in France, and which you can see at


      are the same species as this one. They certainly look a lot alike, and so many American species have been imported to Europe that they could be the same. My fantasy is to have a machine with a probe that you could touch a plant with, and the machine would tell what species the plant is.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 19, 2013 at 1:49 PM

  4. I’m looking for a supplier in Austin that will have a Mustang Grape Vine seed or plant for purchase. I found Natives of Texas in Kerrville, but if you know of a supplier in Austin, that would be preferable. Any help would be appreciated. Also, does a mustang grape vine take longer, shorter, or about the same time to grow and spread as other native and more popular vines? And why does it seem, at least to me, that this vine is so rare to come by?

    Erica Hartman

    August 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    • I wish I knew how to answer your questions, Erica, but I’m afraid I’m no horticulturist. What I’d recommend is that you contact the staff at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, who know all about the kinds of things you’re asking, and may also know of a local source. I see mustang grape vines fairly often in the wild, so you might also be able to get some seeds that way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 23, 2013 at 2:51 PM

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