Vitis acuminata Oerst.
Vitis arachnoidea Oerst.
Vitis caribaea DC.
Vitis tiliifolia is a small to very large climbing shrub with thick, woody stems that can be 10 - 35 metres long and up to 20cm in diameter[
]. The plant climbs into the trees and shrubs in the forest, supporting itself by means of coiled tendrils.
Best known for the watery sap that can be obtained from the stems, the plant also yields a sour fruit, has local medicinal uses and can be used as cordage.
Northern S. America - Ecuador, Colombia; Central America - Panama through to Mexico; Caribbean - Cuba and Jamaica to the Virgin Islands.
Common in wet to dry forest or thickets, often in pine-oak forest, most plentiful at lower elevations but also extending to 1,700 metres[
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Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Usually very sour[
]. The fruit, even when fully ripe, is too acid to be palatable, but it is utilized sometimes for making vinegar.[
]. The purple-black fruit is about 6 - 8mm. In diameter[
Considerable quantities of watery sap can be obtained from sections of the stem. This can be drunk in place of water, a fact of which advantage is often taken in regions where surface water is lacking[
]. A slightly astringent flavour, it runs from sections of the stem when these are separated and handled with the proper dexterity. A piece of stem one metre long will fill an ordinary glass, and the frequent distribution of this plant in the forests has saved the life of more than one woodsman who had lost his way and was dying from thirst[
The water obtained from the stem is reputed diuretic and efficacious as a remedy for venereal diseases[
The tough stems are used for temporary cordage in gathering firewood and for other purposes[
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