New stems feature green coloring and hairy prickles, and as they age, they become woody and brown. Young stems grow in dense shrubby places, but as they grow and climb, they become sturdier. Oval leaves, measuring 3 inches by 1 inch, grow along the stems in either three or five leaflet patterns.
White, wrinkly flowers bloom at the end of the young stems and measure about an inch at full bloom. The dewberry vine blooms mid to late spring for about one to two months. During this time, the flowers open with the sun and close at dark. The plant relies on a woody taproot, which reproduces by reseeding and replanting the tops of young stems. Grown natively in the dry, sandy savannas, wooded meadows or vacant fields, the dewberry vine thrives after the occasional wildfire.
The dewberry vine enjoys relatively dry conditions but tolerates many different types of soil including loamy, clay, rock or sand. In ideal conditions, the vine can reach more than six feet tall and five feet wide.
The flowers of the deciduous dewberry vine attract a wide variety of bees, butterflies, skippers, songbirds and game birds. The fruits of this plant are edible and used by some to treat ailments like nausea and diarrhea. Others have employed the roots of the dewberry vine to halt bleeding on wounds. The berries can be eaten raw, made into jams, used in pies or juiced as a natural dye. Gardeners may use the dewberry vine around trees to eliminate mowing chores in this hard-to-reach area as well as along the edges of woodlands.
The Dewberry plant is an attractive addition to any garden especially in spring and summer months when the flowers develop into berries. The berries start out green then turn a red and later turn a deep-purple to black as they ripen. The berries produced by this plant are tender and sweet and can be used to make pies, jam, or cobbler. This plant is easy to grow but needs ample space for its large, lateral growing root system. It also can multiply quickly through seeds being dropped and a continuously growing horizontal underground stem which randomly puts out lateral shoots and roots forming new plants.