The Scuppernong Muscadine Grape
Could you describe or explain the difference between a Scuppernong and other grapes if asked?
People often ask me, “What is the difference between a scuppernong and a muscadine?” Well, muscadines are a species of grapes that naturally grow in the southeast. It can be found in coastal states from Florida to Delaware, and as far west as Texas. Muscadines, or Vitis rotundifolia, are found in areas with well-drained soil and good sunlight. You can find them growing in areas with poor drainage and shade, but they do not produce very well. 100 cultivated varieties of muscadines exist today, and several of which are not self-fertile. You may see the word “pistillate” in its description, which means that the flower only contains female reproductive organs. Another term is “staminate,” which means it only has the male parts.
Getting back to the point of the article! A ‘Scuppernong’ is actually a wild variety of bronze-colored muscadines that were discovered along the Scuppernong River in North Carolina. It was one of the first cultivated varieties. It became so popular that nowadays, many people refer to any bronze-colored muscadine as a Scuppernong. Like amphibians, all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. All Scuppernongs are muscadines, but not all bronze-colored muscadines are Scuppernongs. While Scuppernongs have high vigor, cultivars like ‘Fry’ have gained more popularity with larger berries and fewer scars. Breeding programs have greatly enhanced these wild fruits to improve flavor, size and shipping ability.
We have an excellent publication called “The Muscadine Grape,” EDIS publication #HS763. It lists the cultivars that do well in Florida, along with being categorized by your desired use, such as fresh market or wine making. You’ll also read about vineyard designs, pruning, pest management and fertilization. If you would like to view a commercial demonstration of these grapes, visit the Hastings Agricultural Education Center in downtown Hastings.