Plant DetailShow Menu

Carolina Redberried Moonseed Cocculus carolinus

Previously known as:

  • Nephroia carolinum
Phonetic Spelling
KOK-yoo-lus kair-oh-LY-nus
Description

Carolina Moonseed is a deciduous, flowering, woody vine in the Moonseed family that is native to the Carolinas and found in in rocky open woods, glades, fence rows, roadsides and alongside streams. As a vine, the plant will climb with thin twining stems, or scramble along the ground to a length of 12 feet or longer. The flowers of this plant are insignificant, but the leaves are large, about twice as long as they are wide, and the attractive red fruit is considered showy. However, the plant will not usually produce fruit for the first few years after planting. The genus name comes from the Greek word kokkos meaning berry and the species name means from North or South Carolina.

Carolina Moonseed does best in average well-drained soils in full sun to part shade, although it does tolerate a wide range of soils and growing conditions. It will tolerate cold, but it does tend to partially die back in the winter, especially if it is sited in an unprotected location. When deciding on a site for this plant, also consider that it is a strong grower and will spread rapidly. Once the root is established, it can be difficult to remove.

The plant will do best supported by a trellis, arbor, or fence, or woven through large shrubs and can be pruned back to maintain a desired size. The seeds of Carolina Moonseed are shaped like the shell of a snail (hence, one of its common names). The plant is occasionally found in the wild, but is relatively rare.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect pests. Carolina Moonseed will spread rapidly and can become weedy.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#climbing#winter interest#showy fruits#fast growing#NC native#red fruits#native vine#twining vine#food source fall#food source herbage#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#food source soft mast fruit#vine#Christmas decorations#winter fruits#Audubon#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#climbing#winter interest#showy fruits#fast growing#NC native#red fruits#native vine#twining vine#food source fall#food source herbage#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#food source soft mast fruit#vine#Christmas decorations#winter fruits#Audubon#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cocculus
    Species:
    carolinus
    Family:
    Menispermaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern United States.
    Distribution:
    Virginia south to Florida, west to Texas, Mexico.
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant attracts birds and it is often used as shelter by mid-sized mammals.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heat, drought, and soil compaction tolerant.
    Climbing Method:
    Scrambler
    Twining
    Edibility:
    The "berries" (technically drupes) are enjoyed by birds, but not edible by humans.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Creeping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Description:
    Loose clusters of shiny, dark red, pea sized fruit display from September to October. The single crescent-shaped seed inside each drupe resembles a third quarter moon or small snail shell.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Tiny greenish white flowers bloom in June and July in loose, drooping, terminal and axillary clusters.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Spatulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Dark green, glossy leaves to 4 inches long) are of varying shapes ranging from oval to heart-shaped to triangular.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Twining stems allow the plant to climb. Stems are not very woody and easily broken.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Problems:
    Weedy