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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 3 | Menispermaceae | Menispermum

1. Menispermum canadense Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 340. 1753.

Moonseed, Canada moonseed, ménisperme du Canada, raison de couleuvre

Vines or lianas , vines twining, to ca. 5 m; rhizomes to 1 cm diam. Leaves peltate with petiole inserted to 11 mm from margin, rarely not peltate; petiole to 20 cm. Leaf blade ovate or nearly orbiculate, rarely reniform, to 23 × 24 cm, membranous; venation 7-12. Inflorescences to 18 cm; rachis glabrous or sparsely pilose. Flowers: sepals (4-)5-8, ovate, elliptic, or obovate, 1-4 × 0.4-1.8 mm, glabrous or sparsely pilose; petals 4-12, elliptic to nearly orbiculate or obovate, 0.6-2 × 0.6-2 mm, margins slightly involute, glabrous. Staminate flowers: stamens to 4 mm. Pistillate flowers: staminodes to 0.8(-1.5) mm; pistils 2-4, to 1.4 mm. Drupes black or bluish black, 8-13 mm diam., often glaucous. 2 n = 52.

Flowering spring-summer. Deciduous woods and thickets, along streams, bluffs and rocky hillsides, fencerows, shade tolerant; 0-700 m; Man., Ont., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.

The fruit of Menispermum canadense is thought to be poisonous. This species is sometimes grown as an ornamental.

Some Native American tribes used Menispermum canadense medicinally as dermatological, gastrointestinal, gynecological, and venereal aids, and as remedies for various other complaints (D. E. Moerman 1986).


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