A vigorous climber with roughly hairy young shoots. Leaves distinctly three; rarely five-lobed, the side lobes spreading and pointed; heart-shaped at the base; 2 to 6 in. long and wide, coarsely toothed, the teeth rounded, but ending in a minute abrupt point (mucro); dark green above with scattered short hairs at first; bristly hairy beneath; stalk from three-fourths to as long as the blade, very hairy, especially at first. Inflorescence hairy, once or twice forked, each fork terminated by a cymose flower-cluster. Fruit 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. across, amethyst blue.
var. maximowiczii (Reg.) Rehd. Vitis heterophylla var. maximowiczii Reg.; V. h. var. humulifolia Hook, f.; V. heterophylla Thunb.; A.mpelopsis heterophylla (Thunb.) Sieb. & Zucc., not Blume – This chiefly differs from the type in having the leaves beneath and the branchlets glabrous or only slightly downy when young. As seen in cultivation this variety (better known as Vitis heterophylla) is remarkable for the great variation in leaf-shape shown even by a single plant; sometimes the leaves are broadly heart-shaped and not lobed at all, sometimes slightly three-lobed, sometimes deeply three- or five-lobed. Bot. Mag., t. 5682.
A. brevipedunculata and var. maximowiczii have a wide range in E. Asia, being found in China, Korea, Japan, and the Russian Far East. The variety, at any rate in Japan, appears to grow intermingled with the type and may represent no more than a state of the species rather than a distinct entity.
The great beauty of these vines is in their blue fruits, and these are only produced when the plant is fully exposed to the sun. The best results, with either of the cultivated forms, are obtained by planting it against a south wall, where it has a rather restricted root run.
cv. ‘Citrulloides’. – Leaves deeply five-lobed, the central lobe narrowed near the middle and the base. In cultivation 1875.
cv. ‘Elegans’. – Leaves handsomely splashed with pink and white, and the young shoots pink. It is too delicate to thrive away from a wall. Introduced by Siebold before 1847.