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Montana Field Guides

Riverbank Grape - Vitis riparia

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3S4
(see State Rank Reason below)
C-value: 5

Agency Status


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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Vitis riparia grows in riparian and woody draw habitats and on fences in a small portion of Montana. More current data on population size, distribution, and threats is needed before warranting it as a Species of Concern.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 11/14/2016
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Range Extent

    ScoreF - 20,000-200,000 sq km (~8,000-80,000 sq mi)

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreD - 6-25 4-km2 grid cells

    Number of Populations

    ScoreB - 6 - 20

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreC - Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce

    Long-term Trend

    ScoreU - Unknown


    ScoreU - Unknown


    ScoreD - Low

    CommentThreat categories include: Ecosystem modifications.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    ScoreBC - Moderately vulnerable to not intrinsically vulnerable

General Description
Plants: Woody vines (Lesica 2012), climbing or spreading up to 25 m, the bark typically coming loose and falling off in peels (McGregor et al. 1986).

Leaves: Leaves long-petiolate, alternate; blades cordate-ovate, palmately and shallowly lobed, glabrous above, puberulent on veins below, 5–12 cm in length (Lesica 2012), width similar to length, basal sinus wide; margins with wide, acuminate teeth; teeth sometimes with 1 or both sides concave (McGregor et al. 1986); tendrils branched, opposite the upper leaf axils, without adhesive disks (Lesica 2012).

Inflorescence: A branched panicle from upper leaf nodes (Lesica 2012), compact, 4-12 cm in length, axis minutely hairy to nearly smooth (McGregor et al. 1986).

(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)

Flowers May-June. Fruits July-September (McGregor et al. 1986).

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
MT to QC south to NM, TX and TN (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 17

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Riparian forest; plains (Lesica 2012), thickets, creek banks, lush woodlands (McGregor et al. 1986).

(Lesica’s contribution from Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus griseocollis (Colla and Dumesh 2010).

Reproductive Characteristics
Flowers: Functionally unisexual, 5-merous; calyx reduced, faintly lobed; petals separate, early deciduous; stamens 5; ovary superior; style 1 (Lesica 2012).

Fruit: A purple, globose berry, glaucous, 7–11 mm across, 2-celled with 2 seeds per cell (Lesica 2012); seeds reddish-brown, 4.5-5.5 mm in length (McGregor et al. 1986).

(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)

Sometimes cultivated for its autumn leaf colors, Riverbank Grape may escape or persevere after other traces of human occupation have disappeared (Hitchcock et al. 1961).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141:39-68.
    • Hitchcock, C. L., A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J. W. Thompson. 1961. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest, Part 3. Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae. Seattle, WA and London, England: University of Washington. 614 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • McGregor, R.L. (coordinator), T.M. Barkley, R.E. Brooks, and E.K. Schofield (eds). 1986. Flora of the Great Plains: Great Plains Flora Association. Lawrence, KS: Univ. Press Kansas. 1392 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Boggs, K. W. 1984. Succession in riparian communities of the lower Yellowstone River, Montana. M.S. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman, 107 pp.
    • DuBois, K.L. 1979. An inventory of the avifauna in the Long Pines of Southeastern Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 113 p.
    • Eggers, M.J.S. 2005. Riparian vegetation of the Montana Yellowstone and cattle grazing impacts thereon. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. 125 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Riverbank Grape — Vitis riparia.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from