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Products > Rhoicissus capensis
Rhoicissus capensis - Evergreen Grape

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Vine
Family: Vitaceae (Grapes)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Insignificant
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Synonyms: [Rhoicissus tomentosa]
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Rhoicissus capensis (Evergreen Grape) - A rapidly growing evergreen vine that has foliage that resembles that of the true grapes. The tendrils at each node are positioned opposite the leaves, which emerge reddish then turn a light green. The foliage matures to large deeply lobed leaves with curly edges that show off the rusty undersides and the older leaves often turn a reddish color prior to dropping off. The stems are also rusty hairy and combine well with light green foliage. The flowers are small and greenish so not showy and the fruit, an edible shiny dark berry, is forms in clusters in late fall. Grows in full sun along the coast but is best in part sun or light shade with occasional to regular watering - is pretty drought tolerant in Santa Barbra gardens but looks more lush with at least occasional water. Hardy to around 25 F. This is a great plant to cover a fence or for an arbor and makes an interesting groundcover. A large specimen graces our fence line and spreads out over the ground near the entrance to the nursery. Grows wild along the Cape of South Africa and eastwards and northwards along coastal forests in Natal and the eastern Transvaal where it is called "Wild Grape" or "Monkey Rope" and where it is noted that the seeds are eaten by both birds and mammals. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'rhoia', which was used to describe the Pomegranate, and 'kissos', the word used to describe Ivy (Hedera sp.) but this meaning is unclear as the clambering growth is somewhat ivy-like but the fruits certainly not like a pomegranate. This plant has long been called Rhoicissus capensis, with the specific epithet indicating its origins in the Cape Region of South Africa, and this is the name listed as current on The Plant List (collaboration between Kew and MOBOT) but some list it as Rhoicissus tomentosa, with the epithet descriptive of the hairy new leaves.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Rhoicissus capensis.