Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Cocculus carolinus (L.) DC.
- Family: Moonseed (Menispermaceae)
- Flowering: June-August
- Field Marks: This vine is recognized by its highly variable leaves and its bright red, spherical
- Habitat: Moist or dry soils in fields, woodlands, fencerows, roadsides, and waste areas.
- Habit: Somewhat woody vine climbing or scrambling over vegetation.
- Stems: Herbaceous at first, becoming woody and sometimes nearly 1 inch in diameter, brown,
smooth or hairy, minutely warty, several to many feet long.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, highly variable in shape, basically ovate, pointed or rounded at the
tip, more or less heart-shaped at the base, without teeth but sometimes with shallow lobes, hairy,
up to 5 inches long, often nearly as wide.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne separately on different plants in panicles arising just
above the axils of the leaves; panicles of male flowers up to 6 inches long; panicles of female
- Sepals: 6, in 2 groups of 3, free from each other, green, hairy, the outer 3 shorter than the
inner 3, none of the sepals more than 1/10 inch long.
- Petals: 6, free from each other, shorter than the inner sepals.
- Stamens: 6.
- Pistils: 6; ovaries superior.
- Fruits: Drupes bright red, spherical, up to 1/3 inch in diameter; seeds bony, coiled and warty,
resembling a snail.
- Notes: This plant is often called snailseed.
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