Carolina snailseed
Cocculus carolinus (L.) DC.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: red-berried moonseed, Carolina moonseed, Carolina coralbead
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate simple, petioles a little shorter than to equaling blade length; blades to 4” long, shape highly variable from ovate to hastate, typically about as wide as long, but the length-width ratio also varies greatly; blades palmately veined
  • FLOWER: unisexual, plants dioceous; flowers small and greenish, the female flowers with 6 pistils; inflorescences axillary panicles
  • FRUIT: bright red drupe 0.2 – 0.3 “ broad, each face with a concavity; endocarps moon or snail shaped (hence the common names snailseed and moonseed); fruit maturing in late fall
  • BARK: brown and warty on older vines
  • FORM: woody vine climbing by twining; stems to ca. 0.75” in diameter on older vines
  • HABITAT: bottomland hardwood forests and various mesic forests (and forest edges), fencerows, thickets
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative (FAC): Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: Kansas to Texas east to Florida and Virginia [County Range Map]
  • USES: ornamental (showy red fruit), root used in folk medicine as a diuretic and to treat arthritis and blood ailments
  • WILDLIFE: commonly browsed by deer, 6 species of birds were reported to consume fruit in one study
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. woody vine climbing by twining
    2. distinctive leaf shape (including variability), long petioles (approaching or equaling the blade length)
    3. bright red drupes in dense pendant grape-like clusters