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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Vitaceae (grapevine family)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Order: Vitales

There are about 14 genera and about 850 species worldwide with five genera and 83 species in southern Africa. An additional four genera and 10 species are cultivated in southern Africa.

Genera native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).


About 100 species worldwide, with three species found in southern Africa.


About 50 species, found in tropical regions of the Old World. Cayratia gracilis and Cayratia ibuensis (recorded from Mozambique) are the only species found in southern Africa. 


About 200 species, found mainly in tropical and subtropical regions, with 16 species occurring in southern Africa. An additional three species are cultivated in southern Africa.


About 250 species, found in tropical and subtropical regions, with 50 species found in southern Africa.


Twelve species recorded in southern Africa.

Cultivated genera in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).


About 25 species, native to Asia and North America. Most are woody, deciduous shrubs but some grow as shrubs. Two species are grown as a garden ornamental in southern Africa.



A genus of about 10 species of deciduous tendril climbers found in the Himalayas, E. Asia, and North America. Two species are grown as garden ornamentals in southern Africa.


One species cultivated in southern Africa - Tetrastigma voinieranum (Chestnut vine), native to Laos.


Vitis (grapevine genus)

About 65 species, found in north temperate regions. Most species are woody, deciduous tendril climbers, but some can be shrub-like. The Grapevine Vitis vinifera originates from Orient and northwest India and is widely grown for production of table grapes, grapejuice, wine and vinegar. Vitis labrusca (Catawba) is also cultivated in southern Africa, native to eastern USA.


  • Merxmüller, H. & Schreiber, A. 1969. Vitaceae. Prodromus einer Flora von Südwestafrika 80: 1-8.

  • Verdcourt, B. 1993. Flora of Tropical East Africa. Vitaceae: 1-149.

  • Wild, H. & Drummond, R.B. 1963. Vitaceae. Flora zambesiaca 2: 439-492.