They are thorny, woody vines growing anywhere from 1-12 meters tall, scrambling over other plants with their spiky thorns. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous if there is a dry season. The leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate, 4-13cm long and 2-6cm broad. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colours associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.
The Vine has been cultivated for a very long time throughout Europe and is one of the greatest suppliers of wine. Due to the heady effects of wine this plant was associated with the loss of inhibitions and the loosening of the tongue. It represents the release of prophetic powers and the revealing of truths.