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5 Leaf Native Grape/Water Vine

BSA Plant Guide

5 Leaf Native Grape/Water Vine (Cissus hypoglauca)

Family: Vitaceae

Size: Climbing vine to over 20 metres depending on host trees

Description: Large woody climbing vine with 2-branched tendrils, leaves of 5 and distinctive purple/black grapes.

Habitat: Found growing into the canopy of rainforests, sclerophyll forests and sheltered gullies along coastal ranges.

Foliage: Alternate leaves, palmate with 5 elliptic leaflets each up to 12cm long. Upper surface waxy, glossy dark green, under surface dull and paler. New growth covered with soft rusty hairs.

Flowers: Yellow flowers in panicles to 6mm (spring to summer).

Fruit/seeds: Edible purplish-black spherical fruit to 10mm in diameter which grow in clusters/drupes (autumn/winter)

Distribution: Coastal ranges of QLD, NSW and VIC. Only C. hypoglauca grows below NSW into VIC.

Uses: Ripe edible fruit is best collected from the ground but relatively astringent (2 beer grape). Vine stems can be cut into lengths (cut 45° high then low with a sharp tool), turned upside down and water drained from them (must be clear, odourless, not milky), consume water within 24 hours. Fruit traditionally used as a gargle for sore throats and unripe fruit used to treat stomach complaints.