Friends of the Port St Lucie Botanical Gardens

Carolina Coralbead

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Carolina Coralbead

Cocculus carolinus 

  • Common Name: Carolina Coralbead (other common names: Carolina Moonseed, Carolina Snailseed, Red Berried Moonseed, coral-beads).
  • Scientific Name: Cocculus carolinus
  • Family Name: Menispermaceae
  • Origin: United States (Southeast – Midwest)
  • Height: 10’– 14’ but up to 30’ in the south due to no winter dieback.
  • Width: 3’ – 6’, space 36”-48 “apart.
  • Growth: Vine that grows rapidly so be careful where you plant as it can be hard to eradicate.
  • Zone: 5A – 9B
  • Light Needs: Full sun - partial shade (direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours).
  • Salt Tolerance:  Medium
  • Soil/PH/Texture: Planted in a wide range of soil types - clay, loam, sand, shallow, rocky, and high in organic matter. Acidic to neutral (pH 6.0 – 8.0).
  • Soil Moisture: Somewhat moist, average water needs but do not overwater.
  • Drought Tolerance: Tolerant to drought and heat.
  • Pests/Diseases: No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Growing Conditions: Will naturalize and is found natively climbing or scrambling over the ground in many of the North American states in which it appears in rocky open woods, glades, fence rows, stream and pond margins, and along roadsides.
  • Characteristics: This evergreen and deciduous plant has leaves that are a green and velvet/fuzzy texture, ovate to triangle shaped. The female and male flowers are small and green-white and appear on different plants.  The flowers are under 1”, they bloom in late spring – early summer. The fruit/drupe is colored red/burgundy and in clusters, very showy, they appear in the fall and last into winter, and are edible to birds.
  • Propagation: Self-seeds, stolon’s and runners, also can be propagated by woody stem cuttings.
  • Wildlife: Attracts birds.
  • Facts: All parts of this plant are poisonous, do not ingest. Its name derives from it is small, rounded, red fruits and half-moon shaped seeds.
  • Designer Considerations: It is grown on trellises, arbors, screens, hedge groves, fences or let naturally flourish through other weeds and shrubs and is great for xeriscaping.