Have you ever noticed in many area parks, some wooded areas – and even some trees in not so wooded areas – are covered with grape vines?
Yes, Wisconsin is home to many native vine species, including things like poison ivy and, despite its name, Virginia creeper. Also right at home in Badgerland is Riverbank grape. I snapped a few photographs of Riverbank vines wrapping themselves around trees up on the bluff above Lake Michigan in Back Bay Park on the East Side.
Then, I asked Brian Russart, the natural areas coordinator for Milwaukee County Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Culture, about them.
"It certainly looks like the Riverbank grape," he said. "I'm no expert on whether (wild vines) are edible or not, but I do believe the Riverbank grape is. I've tried it and it's pretty tart. I have heard of individuals making wine out of wild grapes but I'm not sure which species they use."
But don't get any ideas about harvesting on public land, Russart reminded.
"Any grapes growing in the Park System natural areas are protected from collection," he said.
I asked if these vines are considered invasive species and if anything is being done to control them in County Parks and Russart clarified.
"We do work to control the invasive species, but not any of the native ones," he said. "Sometimes native species can become aggressive, but typically that happens in a more ecologically disturbed area.
"There are several non-native invasives vine species such as porcelain berry which is currently found at Grant Park and Oriental bittersweet which is found at approximately four parks."
If you have questions about the plants growing wild in the area, Russart suggests the Freckman Herbarium website, which he said "Is one of the best for any plants found in Wisconsin."
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published July 28, 2015
Some details of the plan for the new development in the trio of National Ace Hardware buildings on 4th and McKinley have emerged, right as plans for a new arena and entertainment district across the street have taken steps forward.
Published July 25, 2015
One of the Milwaukee area's most interesting parks is a bit off the beaten path, but it's worth making tracks to Lizard Mound County Park in Farmington, just north of West Bend in Washington County. A wooded path twists and turns through 28 Native American effigy mounds, including the one shaped like a huge lizard which gives the park its name.
Published July 24, 2015
Green Lake is a place of superlatives. Here are eight of the many reasons to fall in love with Green Lake, which is an easy 90-minute drive from Milwaukee.
Published July 24, 2015
What a long strange trip it was. While theaters like the Downer and Oriental have venerable histories as long-running cinema houses, consider, if you will, the the more varied history of the now-dilapidated State Theater, 2616 W. State St. Originally a movie theater, the State has served a number of purposes - rock venue, prudish dance hall and strip club - in its nearly 100-year history.
Published July 22, 2015
There were about 500 people on hand to watch U2 at The Palms on April 15, 1981. The show was part of the Irish band's first U.S. tour. Here's a look back...
Published July 21, 2015
Come with me to see the progress on the restoration of The Pabst Mansion's third floor and also peek into the basement and attic, and experience the view from the roof of this Milwaukee landmark.
Published July 17, 2015
Milwaukee neighborhoods were once awash in movie theaters, as hard as that may be to imagine these days when you can count the number of non-googleplex cinemas in the city limits on one hand. While many are lost, a few remain. At 3804 W. Vliet St. is a former longtime carpet store that's been closed the past few years. But, originally, the building was home to The Lyric Theater, which operated from 1917 to 1952.
Published July 14, 2015
In 2012, I toured the surviving Alexander Eschweiler-designed Agricultural College buildings on the County Grounds, when their roofs gaped open to the stars - and the elements - and weeds encircled their exteriors. Despite talk of tearing them down, and an ongoing battle to save them from demolition, four of the buildings survive, even as six new apartment buildings are rising around them.
Published July 14, 2015
The WMA managed to get an alternative teacher-licensing track included in the omnibus that allows graduates from a program accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, (MACTE) to apply for a Wisconsin state teaching license to teach in a public or charter Montessori school.
Published July 13, 2015
Last week, Milwaukee lost a talented, dedicated, hard-working historian. But when former Italian Community Center president Mario Carini died on July 7, at the age of 78, Milwaukee's Italian community lost a force of nature.