Vitis is a genus of about 60 species of vining plants. The grape is usually a woody vine, climbing by means of tendrils (modified branches) and when untrained often reaching a length of 17 metres (56 feet) or more. In arid regions it may form an almost erect shrub. The leaves are alternate, palmately lobed, and always tooth-edged. Small greenish flowers, in clusters, precede the fruit, which varies in colour from almost black to green, red, and amber.
The plants are valued for their decorative foliage, often colouring brightly in autumn; their ability to clothe walls, pergolas and arches, thus providing shade; and their fruits, which may be eaten as dessert or provide the basis for homemade wines.