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Native Grape/Slender Grape – Cayratia clematidea
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Native Grape/Slender GrapeCayratia clematidea
Early November 2009
Hubby and I went for a drive and overnight camp with friends, we had a really enjoyable trip and I collected all SORTS of things to ‘play’ with in my papers and dyes
  Among the various things collected were 4 or 5 brown tubers that we found growing on a bank and which I’ve since been able to identify as the Native Grape or Slender Grape Cayratia clematidea.
Sliced/chopped and boiled tubers
Batch 1: just dye and paper
Batch 2: dye plus blended tuber/paper boiled together for 1 hour
Batch 3: remaining vat contents blended with fresh paper pulp
                        I added glitter and sacred bamboo flowers and leaves to this lot.

* I used a homemade SIZEING MIX, mainly because I didn’t have any of the liquid starch I’ve been using as sizeing.
I made a paste using 100mls cold water mixed with 2 tablespoons cornflour, 2 tablespoons rice flour and 2 tablespoons potato flour and added to 300mls heated water.  This was way too thick, so added another 500mls of hot water to form a THICK liquid.  Totalling 900mls of Sizing.
Cayratia clematidea (VITACEAE); Slender grape

Herbaceous scrambler with compound leaves with fleshy leaflets which are sprinkled with soft shorthairs, each leaf is opposed by either tendrils or flowers on margins of rainforest, north from the Shoalhaven Gorges NSW.

Striate stems.
Small green flowers with 4 petals in summer.
Fruit is a 6mm wide berry.
"Forms a large tuber beneath the ground from which a new foliage sprouts each spring and dies away in autumn" (Robinson).
A single leaf and tendril  - The tendril is an extra-axillary lateral branch.                  

Flowers and foliage

A weak climber, sometimes getting woody and larger, but usually around 2m long. Often mistaken for a weed by those who have not learned its features, as it grows in much the same habitat and often alongside Balloon Vine, which it vaguely resembles.

It can be distinguised from Balloon Vine by having branching petiolules, the longest of which is for the terminal (largest) leaflet. Balloon vine leaves are arranged in three groups of three (biternate) and hairier. The three groups of leaves each have long stalks but the leaflets at the ends of the stalks then clasped (sessile) to the stem.

Cayratia clematidea tends to be duller, more blue-green and more wrinkled looking than Balloon Vine.
Cayratia clematidea leaflets are deeply toothed.
Flowers greeenish.
Local aboriginal tribes gathered the tubers of Cayratia clematidea and Cissus opaca as "yams". They prepared the tubers of Cayratia clematidea by beating them on stones before roasting. (Australian Subterranean Succulent Flora by Ian Menkins).

It can appear weedy, as it is a pioneer. It's excellent at plugging sunny gaps, but it is not a weed.

References and Resources
True friends, False Enemies - There are a lot of plants, many of them extremely important, that are in danger of being pulled as weeds because they don't have the classic "native plant" look, or closely resemble some well-known weeds. Abutilon oxycarpum, Acalypha nemorum, Cayratia clematidea - Slender Grape, Maclura cochinchinensis, Commelina diffusa, Dutchman's Pipe and Pearl Vine, Berry Saltbush (Einadia hastata), Ottochloa gracillima (a grass), Solanacea, Carex spp, Lobelia spp
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