Thursday, November 6, 2008

October 29, 2008

Cocculus carolinus

As promised, here are photos and information about the red-berried vine we saw the same day as the Virginia Creeper. I've since learned, thanks to Harvey Cotton, Director of the Huntsville Botanical Garden, this is Carolina Moonseed, Snailseed or Coralbeads. Cocculus carolinus.

This vine didn't have lovely fall coloration, but our colors here were only beginning to turn when these shots were taken. However, amid the green leaves these vivid red berries shone in the sunlight like christmas lights on a tree.

Carolina Moonseed is a deciduous vine native to the Southeast. It's easily grown in full sun to part shade and is tolerant of a wide range of soils and growing conditions.

The berries are not toxic to humans, but they are bitter and cause a tummy ache. Birds love the fruit, especially Northern Cardinals, White-throated Sparrows and Mockingbirds.

Cocculus carolinus means "little berry from Carolina," which I find charming. Commonly called Snailseed here, you can see why in this photo from Hilton Pond, where you can also link to read more about this beautiful vine.

I plead

For flowers, smiling fairies of the ground;

For birds, on wings and breezes skyward bound;

For trees, the lofty spires of hills we roam;

For beasts, still persecuted in their forest home.



Anonymous said...

Such luscious red berries on that bush. The birds must love them. Love the poem, too. :)

tina said...

Very neat berries. They look yummy, too bad they cause stomach aches.

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Great photos, Debi. That is a very interesting little plant- and I don't think that I have ever seen one. The seeds are really cool- and I love its common name being based on the seeds looking like little moons. The poem at the end is very nice- I don't think that I have ever seen it before. Great article!

Frances said...

Hi Debi, thanks for finding out this info. That Huntsville garden is a fabulous place! I love that little photos of the seed heads. I will have to be on the look out for this vine for our feathered friends.


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