By: Laura Miller
The Carolina moonseed vine (Cocculus carolinus) is an attractive perennial plant which adds value to any wildlife or native bird garden. In the fall this semi-woody vine produces brilliant clusters of red fruit. These Carolina moonseed berries provide a source of food for various species of birds and small animals during the winter months.
Carolina Moonseed Info
The Carolina moonseed has several common names, including Carolina snailseed, red-berried moonseed, or Carolina coral bead. Except for the latter, these names are derived from the berry’s single distinctive seed. When removed from ripened fruit, moonseeds resemble the crescent shape of a three-quarter moon and is reminiscent of the conical shape of a seashell.
The natural range of the Carolina moonseed vine runs from southeastern U.S. states through Texas and northward into the southern states of the Midwest. In some areas, it’s considered an invasive weed. Gardeners report the Carolina moonseed can be difficult to eradicate due to its extensive root system and the natural distribution of its seeds by birds.
In its natural habitat, these moonseed plants grow in fertile, swampy soil or near streams which flow alongside forest edges. The moonseed vines climb to heights of 10 to 14 feet (3-4 m.). As a twining type vine, the Carolina moonseed has the potential to strangle trees. This is more of a problem in the southern climates where warmer temperatures don’t cause winter dieback.
Grown primarily for the vibrant colored berries, the heart-shaped leaves of this vine add visual appeal to the garden during the spring and summer months. The yellowish green flowers, which appear in late summer, are insignificant.
How to Grow Carolina Moonseed Plants
The Carolina moonseed vine can be started from seeds or stem cuttings. The seeds require a period of cold stratification and are often distributed by birds or small animals who have consumed the fruit. The vine is dioecious, requiring both a male and a female plant to produce seeds.
Place plants in full sun to partial shade, being sure to give them a sturdy fence, trellis, or arbor to climb. Choose the location wisely as this plant exhibits a fast growth rate and has invasive tendencies. The Carolina moonseed vine is deciduous in USDA zones 6 to 9, but often dies back to the ground during harsh zone 5 winters.
These native vines require little care. They are tolerant of heat and rarely need supplemental water. They are adaptable to a wide range of soil types from sandy riverbanks to rich, fertile loam. It also has no reported pest or disease issues.
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Carolina Moonseed Vine: How To Cultive Carolina Moonseed In Garden
Vița moonse Carolina (Cocculus carolinus) este o plantă perenă atractivă care adaugă valoare oricărei grădini sălbatice sau a păsărilor native. Toamna, această viță semi-lemnoasă produce ciorchini strălucitori de fructe roșii. Aceste fructe moonseed Carolina oferă o sursă de hrană pentru diferite specii de păsări și animale mici în timpul lunilor de iarnă.
Carolina Moonseed (Cocculus carolinus)
Common name: Carolina Moonseed
Wow! That's quite a vine! It looks so lush and just full of berries. A comment on the PDB says it's a Missouri native, but I've never noticed it around here. Great picture.
It grows as a wild native vine here and requires no care and little water. I found this one growing on a fence in the neighborhood where my deceased grandmother used to live. I had been hunting for a good example of the vine. Many people kill them because without a support on which to grow, they will smother other plants. It took me some time to find its name. It is one of my favorites because the berries are so beautiful in late summer and fall with varying colors as they ripen into a deep red. If you saw the other photo, you noted that you can see through the skin when the berries are ripe which gives them a glow when the light shines through them. At this stage, they remind me of tiny Christmas tree lights. Thanks for your comments.
I am so glad you posted this picture. I have been trying to get a good look at Carolina moonseed. I found a red berried vine in the woods that I assumed was CMS. The berries are red-not round,but are oval shaped. The leaves are the same shape and marks. It must be a variation of this vine.
Covington, La. z8b
I am glad that this photo was useful to you. Are the ripe berries on the plant you are trying to identify full of juice or are they hard?
The red berries are hard with yellow pulp. No juice. I have read that the seed looks like a snail when removed from the berry. Those I found in the woods do not.
The Carolina Moonseed berries when ripe are juicy. The berries at the top right of this photo are ripe and you can see through the skin. They squash easily when ripe. I will keep searching for your vine in order to assist you in your search for its identity, I know how hard it can be. I just located the name of a plant I have been spending hour upon hour for a month trying to identify .
Do birds eat these berries?
Great shot of the berries. This is not what I found. Here is a pic of it in the woods. It was at the edge of a thickly treed piece of land. I have looked in field guides of my area and the surrounding counties. No luck.
Iowagal, birds love the berries. It is listed in many references pertainng to creating a wildscape or backyard habitat as being a great snack for many types of berry loving birds such as mockingbirds, cardinals and white-throated sparrows. Humans should not try eating it. It contains alkaloid compounds which are very bitter and can cause gastric distress, but it has not been known for causing fatalities. The bluish-black berries of Canada Moonseed has been known to have caused fatalities. Canada Moonseed is found in much of North Carolina and the border counties of South Carolina.
Flicker, thanks for the photo. Nope, yours is not Carolina Moonseed. Now that I have a visual, it will be easier to search for it. I have a couple of ideas, but I need to check them out.
I have found my vine! It is smilax pumila-sarsaparilla vine. I was at a native plant meeting and showed pieces of the vine to a botanist.
Thanks for your support,
Great! I had been searching for it for a while for you. At least we were in the right plant family.
I would love to get a couple of pieces of your vine in the spring. I'm sure I'll have a few things to trade.
Flicker, I'll make a note of it and send you some. Please email me your address so I can file it.
This message was edited Sunday, Nov 23rd 5:41 PM
Flicker, was it windy there today too? I gathered some dried berries today from this vine. There were not a lot of fully dried ones, but a lot of squashy ones. I'll send you some if you want them.
Know Your Natives – Carolina Moonseed
Carolina Moonseed (Cocculus carolinus) of the Menispermaceae (Moonseed Family) occurs in the U.S. in the mid-western and southern states. This semi-woody, scrambling or climbing vine occurs throughout Arkansas in shady to partly sunny woods and thickets and along streams and fence rows. It is a slender twining vine without tendrils or thorns. Carolina moonseed, a.k.a. Carolina snailseed, red-berried moonseed and Carolina coralbead, is usually deciduous, but can retain some smaller basal leaves into winter.
Young and mature vines holding tightly to a small black cherry.
Medium-green, slightly leathery leaves vary considerably in outline and size, but are generally ovate to heart-shaped to hastate (triangular) without lobes or with one to two broad lobes on either side. Lobes of some leaves are so indistinct that the outline merely appears wavy. Smaller leaves nearer ground-level tend to have more lobes or show a hastate shape while leaves higher in trees are significantly larger and almost oval. Larger leaves may have blades 5.5” long and 6” wide with petioles of 4.5”. Smaller leaves may have blades 2.75” long and 3.5” wide with petioles of 2.25”. Leaf margins are entire with a pointed to rounded tip with tips typically having a needle-like point. Leaf blades are sparsely covered with fine hairs. Petioles are long and uniformly slender, with those of larger leaves tending to have a kink or bend (may be caused by leaves repositioning themselves during growth to access better sunlight). Venation, as with leaf size, varies considerably, but remains palmate at the base.
Upper leaf surface of Carolina moonseed and ripe fruit. (Leaves collected in November. Petioles removed.)
Lower leaf surface of Carolina moonseed. (same leaves as previous photo)
Carolina moonseed is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). Male panicles are up to 6” long while female clusters are much shorter. Flowers may occur from near ground-level in fencerows to 40 or more feet up within trees. Flowers, ¼” across, with white petals and green sepals occur in early summer.
Flowers on a male Carolina moonseed twining around a blackberry stem.
In late summer and early fall, tight to loose clusters of green fruit on the female vines mature to translucent brilliant red fruits (drupes) and become evident in fence rows and high-up in tall trees. Fruit, persisting into late fall, are less than a fourth-inch in diameter and enclose a flattened, round, 1-seeded stone or pit about ⅛” in diameter and with a textured margin. The stone is said to look like a crescent moon (thus, Carolina “moonseed”) or a snail (thus, Carolina “snailseed”).
Clusters of ripening Carolina moonseed drupes on a vine dangling within a small pine. Inset photo shows the stones or pits of the fruits, each containing a single seed.
Carolina moonseed produces an abundance of fruit which are eaten by many bird species. It comes up from seeds readily. Despite its showy leaves and fruit, the plant’s reputation for being difficult to control in garden settings suggests that it should not be planted in small or formal gardens, but rather should be appreciated in natural settings.
Note: The related Canada moonseed (Menispermum canadense) occurs in moist forests in the highlands of northwest and central Arkansas. Plant growth habit and leaves of Canada moonseed are similar to Carolina moonseed. Canada moonseed can be distinguished by having petioles that join at the bottom surface of the leaf blade rather than at the margin. Also, fruit of Canada moonseed (poisonous) resembles small-fruited, bluish-black grapes in color and cluster shape. A third member of this family in Arkansas, cupseed (Calycocarpum lyonii), also a vine, is found throughout the state, generally in rich, riparian forests. Leaves of cupseed are often deeply three- to five-lobed, with generally long, slender, pointed tips. The stones or pits of the bluish-black fruit of this species are oval, smooth and bowl-shaped or cupped (hence the name, “cupseed”).
Article and photos by ANPS member Sid Vogelpohl
10 CAROLINA MOONSEED Snailseed / Coralbeads Flower Vine Cocculus Carolinus Seeds
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Материалы: Семена, Зиплок Поли сумка, Приклеенные этикетку с, Цвет фото, Статистика растений, Инструкции по посадке, И любовь
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ДРУГИЕ ОБЩИЕ ИМЕНА: Улитки / Коралби / Redberry Moonseed
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Коккулус Каролинус
COLOR: Зеленовато-желтые цветы / Красные ягоды
PLANT SEEDS: Осень сеять семена или холодный стратифировать
ORNAMENTAL BERRIES: Лето - осень
РАССТОЯНИЕ МЕЖДУ ЗАВОДАМИ: 3 - 4'
LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Солнце - Часть тени
SOIL - ВОДЫ ПРЕДПОЧТЕНИЕИ: Средний - Влажный
ДРУГИЕ: Каролина Moonseed является виноградной лозы родом из США. Лозы имеют оба овальных и в форме сердца листьев. Опущенные цветочные скопления заменяются показными ярко-красными мраморными ягодами, похожими на 1/4. Ягоды не должны быть съедены людьми, но птицы и другие животные любят их! Внутри ягоды являются уникальными улитки оболочки формы семян. Растения являются dioecious, так что как мужские и женские растения необходимы для производства фруктов. Лунные лозы, производящие много корней, так что может быть агрессивным и трудно контролировать, но вы можете посадить его в контейнерах над или под землей, чтобы предотвратить это.
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