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Marcus, Joseph A.
Cocculus carolinus (L.) DC.
Carolina snailseed, Carolina coralbead, Carolina moonseed, Red berried moonseed, Carolina red berried moonseed
Synonym(s): Epibaterium carolinum
USDA Symbol: coca
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
A scrambling or climbing vine, 3-15 ft. long, with twining stems and ovate to somewhat heart-shaped leaves. Foliage is medium- to yellow-green, downy beneath, tardily deciduous to semi-evergreen in the South. Flowers small, greenish, male and female on different plants, both in loose lateral and terminal clusters, the male branched, the female unbranched, appearing from June to August. Fruit fleshy, bright red, 1/4 inch or more in diameter from Sept. to Nov. in drooping, grape-like clusters. Seed coiled, suggesting a snail.
This vine is a strong grower and should be used where its vgorous spreading nature would be appreciated. It may not be wise to move it from its native range if spreading is a concern. Once root established, it can be difficult to remove, so plant wisely.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Vine Size Notes:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
, VA Native Distribution:
n. to NC, KY,
& s.e. KS Native Habitat:
Moist, rich woods; roadside thickets; rocky hillsides; limestone cliffs
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist Soil pH:
Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2) Cold Tolerant:
Various wet to droughty soils. . Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay Conditions Comments: Cocculus carolinus
is a common vine
with deep green heart shaped leaves. Some of its leaves can be mistaked for Smilax bona-nox, but C. carolinus does not have prickles or tendrils. It has clusters of lustrous red berries. Stems are not very woody and easily broken. Root system is shallow and suckering. Fast-growing and short-lived. Dies back considerably each season. Best in a naturalistic garden where some spreading is appreciated. Can be an aggressive colonizer.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Attractive, Fruits ornamental, Twines on fences & other plants, Fast growing
Use Wildlife: An intermediate source of food for wildlife. Fruit-birds
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: easy from seeds in spring
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: prune to control size/bulk
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National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Fredericksburg Nature Center
- Fredericksburg, TXLady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Austin, TXPineywoods Native Plant Center
- Nacogdoches, TXBrackenridge Field Laboratory
- Austin, TXPatsy Glenn Refuge
- Wimberley, TXNueces River Authority
- Uvalde, TXStengl Biological Research Station
- Smithville, TXTexas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Austin, TXTexas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter
- Bastrop, TXJacob's Well Natural Area
- Wimberley, TXMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0439
Collected Jul 25, 1994 in Comal County by Mary Beth WhiteNPSOT 0772
Collected Sep 9, 1993 in Bexar County by Harry CliffeNPSOT 0523
Collected Jul 26, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-580
Collected 2007-09-16 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Record Last Modified: 2008-10-29
Research By: NPC