A very vigorous vine, whose main stem in the wild is sometimes from 11⁄2 to 2 ft thick; young shoots smooth or only slightly hairy, a tendril missing from every third joint. Leaves thin, roundish ovate, with a heart-shaped base (the sinus pointed and narrow), 3 to 5 in. wide, rather more in length, slenderly pointed, coarsely and irregularly toothed, unlobed or sometimes obscurely three-lobed, glossy and glabrous above, glabrous or downy on the veins beneath; stalk often as long as the blade. Flowers in drooping panicles, 4 to 12 in. long. Berries globose, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. in diameter, black.
Native of the eastern and southern United States; introduced in 1806. The berries are moderately well-flavoured after they have been touched with frost in America, harsh and acid before; in var. foetida Engelm., described from the Mississippi basin, they have a pungent, foetid odour.
This is probably the species to which the name V. vulpina L. should be applied, but it has so often been used for V. riparia as to be a source of confusion.