Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Carolina Moonseed, Carolina Snailseed, Coralbead
Cocculus carolinus

Family: Menispermaceae
Genus: Cocculus (KOK-yoo-lus) (Info)
Species: carolinus (kair-oh-LY-nus) (Info)

Synonym:Cocculus carolinianus

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 10 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
8 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Eshu2012 On May 7, 2014, Eshu2012 from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

I am trying to kill this with concentrated brush killer, with the ends in solution in a prescription bottle, this does not seem to be killing the vine either. If someone knows any way to kill this vine please post.

Negative Unclezeke On Oct 4, 2013, Unclezeke from Austin, TX wrote:

This Carolina moonseed plant is a pure nightmare. Do not allow it to get established anywhere near your house or yard.

It is highly invasive, with a root system that runs underground at a depth of 2 to 10 inches. Once established it is impossible to kill. It will take over fences, spread to crawlspaces, underneath decks, climb and kill trees, etc.

The underground tubers (runners) can easily extend 20 to 30 feet or more. Pulling up the runners to remove an established root system is extremely difficult. You will end up destroying your yard or flowerbed in the process. Carolina snailseed is as bad as Kudzu.


Positive LeeleeR On Aug 11, 2013, LeeleeR from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

It appears that I'm in the minority here, but I really like this vine. It does tend to cover things in it's path, but isn't that what vines to do? I have a Beautyberry that I have to keep the vine trimmed off of, but it just takes a about a min with my scissors. I have also not had any trouble with it taking over the yard. I have never found it anywhere but on my chain link fences and it has been left to grow, for over a decade that I know of, without any problems. It is wonderful for providing a lush visual barricade between our yard and the neighbors yard, which they don't take care of. Lush and green in the summer (with absolutely no additional water, even in a drought) and lovely clusters of berries in the fall.

Negative efowler On Dec 16, 2012, efowler from Fort Worth, TX wrote:

Our 5 month old puppy passed away after eating berries from this snailseed vine this vine is poision

Negative TerryDuBose On Jun 16, 2012, TerryDuBose from Austin, TX wrote:

Carolina Moonseed, Snailseed, or whatever is a terrible vine. It not only spreads rapidly through runners and bird seed droppings, as it twins around trees it somehow kills them. Back in the 1980s we moved into a house that had an old pear tree in the back that looked like it was dying, only a limb or two with leaves. I noticed that it was covered with this vine, so cut the main stems at the bottom. The next year the tree came roaring back, with leaves, blossoms and many pears. Years later we moved to Little Rock and we had a Dog Wood Tree with a 4 inch diameter trunk that was deeply scared where the vine had twisted around the trunk and up into the tree. I spend much of my time pulling up the runners and killing the vines before the make seed. Peace, Terry

Negative devinelytired On Nov 20, 2011, devinelytired from Brookshire, TX wrote:

Berries are beautiful-but, a couple of years growth of this vine on our neighbors fence made the decision for us to tear it all off our chain link fence. We spent 12 hours just one day removing it from 3 sides of the yard. I figured with most of it gone there would not be much to pick off in the fall. I was wrong! Our fence rows almost look like they did in late July. Today Just removing 10 feet took 3 hours of pulling and unwinding it, then following the 15 foot ground runners to the next fence. Hopefully this time around it wasn't wound with Poison Ivy. After tackling these vines the first time this year, I made a promise to myself that I would have my husband pull all vines. Sorry-vines just can't compete with Tony Stewart! Invasive-you bettter believe it. It's not the birds that spread it so much as the runners that are longer than a race track!

Negative kitawhit On Sep 23, 2011, kitawhit from Houston, TX wrote:

If one could call it beyond invasive, I would. I don't know about how much it spreads by seed, as ours has never actually gone to flower, but it will definitely spread in an uncontrollable way via the root system. My entire yard, and I mean ENTIRE yard has the root system of this plant invading into it. And everytime I think I've thoroughly cleaned out a section, even sifting out even the tiniest little root of it, a few years later, it comes back even worse in from some runner from some other section of the yard or from the neighbors yard. I don't even have to add water. And if I do add water for some other plant, whambam, it spreads fast. I also found out that there are a few spots where the root system goes down almost about 3 feet deep. I imagine that if left to take over, it would be even worse then kudzu. I've gotten to the point now where I am considering just planting all my plants in planters in order to give the other plants roots a fighting chance. If this plant had at least one edible quality I'd let it grow, but, as far as I can tell, it is completely toxic. Why anyone would grow this plant when there are other less invasive plants is beyond me.

Might I add that the only two positive comments on here are not exactly a yea for this plant..

Negative nshmn On Jul 20, 2011, nshmn from Glen Ellyn, IL wrote:

I recently encountered this frightening vine in my woods near Madison, WI., while visiting what was one of the most beautiful parts of my property, a large limestone outcropping that is normally home to several species of small ferns and wildflowers. Too my horror, everything was covered with this monster. I thought it must be Kudzu, but of course it wasn't. When I looked through all my native plant and invasive plant books, and every site I could think of on the internet, and did not see it, I was not reassured. I finally got it identified by a botanist with the DNR, but he said it was uncommon in WI. How could it have gotten there, so far out of its range? Most probably by a bird which had visited the garden of someone who is unaware of what havoc can be wreaked by moving a plant out of its range. I will have to kill everything on and around the rocks to get rid of it before it spreads, if it hasn't already.

Positive RavenFae On Oct 25, 2010, RavenFae from Wichita, KS wrote:

Toxicity of this plant is not high. It might cause some gastoric upset if eaten ( in somewhat large amounts) but nothing fatal. "Berry" has a very bitter taste so I'm assuming its not all that palatible to humans or most animals.

Negative nashvillescape On May 17, 2010, nashvillescape from Nashville, TN wrote:

OK, folks, I have to agree totally with "diggo1"... I can't believe these weeds are being sold and traded without folks being warned of how invasive they can be. They don't grow quite as fast as Trumpet Vine, but can be just as irritating trying to rid it from the garden or landscape. It is really the runners that can continue along the surface of ground or even as deep as 8-10 inches, webbing out from it's source spot that is the problem, once established. I have been working along a couple of spots (they love chain-link fences) of vines established for several years, and the quarter inch diameter woody runners that shoot out can trail several feet from the main roots and start new plants. If you don't dig up ALL of the runners, it just happily puts up new shoots within a few weeks. These things choke out the trees and brush they grow on when you find them in the wild, and once they get into the root systems of you prized growings you'd better be ok with digging them up, to untangle them from your root systems... Hope this warns a few folks!

Positive theresavu On Jan 4, 2008, theresavu from Houston, TX wrote:

i have the plant look like the snailseed vine, but the difference is the stem of mine has a pink color.Do you know what it is?

Negative diggo1 On Jul 25, 2007, diggo1 from Little Rock, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is a NASTY WEED! No doubt about it. I added
INVASIVE WEED to DG's list of other attributes.
Not only do birds spread it's seed everywhere it has
a NASTY little root system. Every day I try to yank up
root saplings, only to find that I am pulling up my
whole yard. Pulling up roots around plants I prize.
The only place for this plant is in a totally naturalized area.
If your starting a new landscape, make sure the area is
neutralized. In Little Rock we call it 'MOTHER VINE'.
Landscapers pulling it up have added another verb
after the word mother and before the word vine.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Carolina moonseed is a deciduous, Missouri native, woody vine which climbs with thin twining stems or scrambles along the ground, and primarily occurs in rocky open woods, wood margins, glades, fence rows, roadsides and stream/pond margins in the southern 1/3 of the State. Best ornamental features are its foliage and its attractive red berries in fall.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama
Opelika, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Little Rock, Arkansas
Wichita, Kansas
Eupora, Mississippi
Elizabethtown, North Carolina
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2 reports)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Lawrenceburg, Tennessee
Abilene, Texas
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
De Leon, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Houston, Texas (6 reports)
New Ulm, Texas
Paris, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Spring, Texas

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