There is a tremendous amount of muscadine growing on the mountain here. I looked up and saw this on Tuesday while walking the dogs.
This is actually a dead oak growing right next to the road. Its crown is a clump of muscadine vines.
The wikipedia article says that muscadine grows “wild in well-drained bottom lands that are not subject to extended drought or water logging.” But they seem to be doing quite well up here in the highlands. A few years ago I cut my way along our rear property line so I could find our interior property corner. A short straight section of the boundary had been staked at some time, so I used it to set my course through the woods. I had to cut a number of thin but tall trees to get a clear view up the property line. The trees are very thick there, so even in the best of circumstances it would be hard to get them to fall, but many times the crowns of the trees were intertwined with muscadine vines so the trees actually couldn’t fall.
I have tasted only a few of our native grapes. They are small, deep purple grapes with a strong flavor but very little flesh. The skins are very thick and tart.
The muscadines seem not to have produced much of a crop this year. I have been seeing unripe green grapes on the road and very few, if any, ripe or even ripening ones on the vines or on the road. Although, according to Wikipedia, some muscadines are green when ripe, as I mentioned, our muscadines are dark purple when they are ripe. The plants look fine, but they just seem not to be producing ripe grapes.