Cocculus carolinus from Diane P., SC

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Hi, Dr. Hill,
This twining vine was photographed on Aug. 5 in a ditch in full sun in the Fall Line along a paved country road. The stem is slightly fuzzy and the leaves are very coarse. The buds aren’t open yet, but it appears the flowers will be white-ish or cream-colored.
Thank you.

Hi Diane,

this vine is Cocculus carolinus, called Coralbeads or Carolina moonseed. It is in the family Menispermaceae which is the source of several powerful medicines such as curare, which is also very toxic.  Never eat any part of this plant, not that you would! This plant is very decorative with its red berries and it is native. The flower buds do not open much, and the plants are dioecious – male and female flowers on separate plants. This looks like a male to me.


Steve Hill, Ph.D., Botanist, SCNPS

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