Canyon Grape

Vitis arizonica

Vitis arizonica, Canyon Grape, Pen & Ink © by Michael Plagens

Illustrated from a specimen found in Sabino Canyon, Sta. Catalina Mts., Pima County, Arizona, USA.

Vitis arizonica, Canyon Grape, photo © by Michael Plagens

VINE: In deep shady canyons where reliable water flows canyon grape vines will be found rambling into riparian trees and shrubs. Forked tendrils help this climber up.

LEAVES: Broadly rounded leaves are shiny when young with distinct teeth. Look for galls on the leaf undersides caused by Phyloxera bugs.

RANGE: Strictly riparian, but fairly common in that setting in canyons mostly above 800 m elevation.

FRUIT: Small grapes turn blue-black when ripe but remain bitter.


The grapes, together with the tough seeds inside, are avidly eaten by many kinds of birds. Later, the seeds will be passed in their feces and thereby be dispersed. The leaves are fed upon by a variety of insects including the grape leaf skeletonizer. Piercing-sucking insects such as leafhoppers take sap from growing stems. Follow the thumb links below for more information about each animal:

Grape Leaf Skeletonizer   Summer Tanager   Phainopepla   Northern Cardinal  Sibovia Cicadellidae  Grape Phylloxera

Vitaceae -- Grape Vine Family

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More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 6 Nov. 2007,
updated 10 July 2016.