By guest author Sheina Lew-Levy
I overcame the wall of green a few years ago, and haven’t looked back since.
What’s the wall of green, you ask?
It’s when you enter the wild and all you see are different shades of green. You can’t see the forest because of the… plants.
We know plants aren’t the same. But how do we begin learning them?
By studying one plant at a time.
Plants are so magical that once you start learning to tell them apart, it’s hard to stop. After all, the more you learn about plants, the more you can eat, weave, dye, build, and craft. And, even better than a garden — I have a black thumb after all — wild plants grow all on their own.
One of the most prolific and delicious wild edible plants is the wild grape, Vitis riparia. These ever-climbing vines grow on many a fence on the East coast of North America.
Closely related to the inedible Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, the wild grape is easily distinguished from its cousin.
While the grape has whole, heart-shaped toothed leaves, the Virginia creeper is composed of five leaflets. Furthermore, the creeper grows its berries on red stems, whereas the stems of grapes are green. As these two can often grow side by side, it is important to be able to distinguish these two species.