One of about 30 American species or wild vines with the complete botanical name Vitis aestivalis Michx. The name means "summer-fruiting vine", because it only blooms in summer - that is why it is also called summer vine. Synonyms or old names are Vitis lincecumii, Vitis rufotomentosa and Vitis smalliana. Trivial synonyms are Blue Grape, Pigeon Grape, Summer Grape, Vigne d'Été and Uva Trepadora. It was first described and catalogued by the French botanist André Michaux (1746-1802) in 1802, who for this reason is immortalized in the botanical name.
Vitis lincecumii, which used to be listed as a separate species, is very similar; its berries and seeds are a little larger. The US researcher U.T. Waterfall suggested in his work "Keys to the Flora of Oklahoma" that a distinction between the two species should be removed. This was accepted, there are now the three varieties Vitis aestivalis var. aestivalis, Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor Deam and Vitis aestivalis var. lincecumii.
The vine is spread in the eastern part of North America from Ontario (Canada) to Vermont, and in the south in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. There it occurs in dry mountain forests, on rocky overhangs, in gorges, swamp forests and climbs up to ten meters high. The Cherokee Indian tribe already used a variety of Vitis aestivalis in religious rituals. The berries are used for jelly production and by many animals as food. It is resistant to phylloxera, but sensitive to calcareous soils. The breeder Hermann Jaeger (1844-1895) used it for his crossbreeds, along with Vitis lincecumii. Vitis-aestivalis genes are contained in the varieties Albania, Blanc Du Bois, Brianna, Cynthiana or Norton, Delaware, Herbemont, Jacquez and Jewel. See also under American Vines and Vine System.