Canada moonseed

(Menispermum canadense)

Conservation Status
Canada moonseed
Photo by Chris Kurtz
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative


Canada moonseed is a climbing, perennial, woody vine rising from a rhizome.

Young vines are green and hairy. When they mature they become hairless and woody. It climbs by twining around the stems of adjacent plants. They extend to about 16 and climb 6 to 10. There are no tendrils.

The leaves are alternate, bluish-green, up to 9 long and 9½ wide, untoothed and round to egg-shaped or, rarely, kidney-shaped. Young leaves are hairy, becoming mostly hairless as they mature. The base of the leaf is heart-shaped, squared, or rounded. There are 3 to 7 shallow lobes or angles. They are on leaf stalks up to 8 long. The leaf stalk attaches to the blade a little less than ½ inside the margin.

Male and female flowers are found on separate plants. The inflorescence is a dense, branched cluster borne in few leaf axils of non-woody vines. They are up to 7 long and hang downward from the stem on long stalks.

The flowers are a little over wide. They have 5 to 8 sepals and 4 to 12 (usually 6 to 9) white petals.

The fruit is a black or bluish-black, ¼ to ½ thick berry with a single crescent-shaped seed. The berry often has a whitish, waxy bloom at maturity. All parts of this plant, especially the friuts, are poisonous. They contain the alkaloid dauricine. Ingestion of the seeds is often fatal.




Climbing: up to 16 long


Flower Color




Similar Species


Silverleaf grape (Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor) leaves are whitish on the underside and have sharply-toothed edges. Tendrils form opposite most leaves. The leaves are attached at the margin. The fruits are edible though sour, and contain 2 to 4, pear-shaped seeds.

Wild grape (Vitis riparia) has yellowish-green leaves with sharply-toothed edges. Tendrils form opposite most leaves. The leaves are attached at the margin. The fruits are edible though sour, and contain 2 to 6, pear-shaped seeds.

Bur cucumber (Sicyos angulatus) leaf stalks attach to the blades at the margin.

Wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata) has more deeply cut leaves. The fruit is a green, inflated, egg-shaped capsule. The leaf stalk attaches to the blade at the margin.


Moist. Woods, thickets.




June to July




Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 24, 28.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Ranunculanae  


Ranunculales (buttercups, poppies, and allies)  


Menispermaceae (moonseed)  
  Subfamily Menispermoideae  
  Tribe Menispermeae  


Menispermum (moonseed)  

Subordinate Taxa






Menispermum mexicanum


Common Names


Canada moonseed

Canadian moonseed

Carolina moonseed

common moonseed


yellow parilla












The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



Growing in a spiral usually around a stem of another plant that serves as support.

Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this plant.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

Chris Kurtz
  Canada moonseed    Photos


  Canada moonseed   Canada moonseed


  Canada moonseed   Canada moonseed
  Canada moonseed    






Visitor Videos

Share your video of this plant.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more videos or YouTube links and, if you like, a caption.

Other Videos

Published on Sep 11, 2012

No description available.




Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this plant.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Be sure to include a location.

Chris Kurtz

Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Hi - I was surfing the net looking for pictures of a vine a stumbled on at Ft. Snelling State Park, on Pike Island. I've attached a photo. Your web page... mentioned locations of sightings but doesn't mention Snelling.

Canada moonseed


Afton State Park

Baker Park Reserve

Big Stone Lake State Park

Bonanza Prairie SNA

Brownsville Bluff SNA

Buffalo River State Park

Bur Oak WMA

Camden State Park

Cannon River Trout Lily SNA

Carley State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Park Reserve

Chamberlain Woods SNA

Cherry Grove Blind Valley SNA

Clear Lake SNA

Crosby Farm Regional Park

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Falls Creek SNA

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Fort Ridgely State Park

Franconia Bluffs SNA

Frontenac State Park

Glendalough State Park

Gneiss Outcrops SNA

Great River Bluffs State Park

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hampton Woods WMA

Hardscrabble Woods / MG Tusler Sanctuary

Hastings SNA

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

John Peter Hoffman Spring Brook Valley WMA

Kasota Prairie

Kasota Prairie SNA

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Kellogg Weaver Unit

Kilen Woods State Park

King’s and Queen’s Bluff SNA

Laible Woods

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Louise State Park

Lake Rebecca Park Reserve

Mary Schmidt Crawford Woods SNA

Minneopa State Park

Minnesota Valley NWR, Chaska Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Long Meadow Lake Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Louisville Swamp Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Rapids Lake Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Wilkie Unit

Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, Lawrence Unit

Mississippi River County Park

Monson Lake State Park

Mound Prairie SNA

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Myre-Big Island State Park

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Pilot Knob

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Prairie Creek Woods SNA

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

River Terrace Prairie SNA

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Sakatah Lake State Park

Savage Fen SNA

Seminary Fen SNA

Seven Mile Creek County Park

Seven Springs WMA

Sibley State Park

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Swedes Forest SNA

Tiedemann WMA

Townsend Woods SNA

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Vermillion River WMA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitewater State Park

Whitney Island SNA

Wild River State Park

William O’Brien State Park

Wolsfeld Woods SNA

Wood-Rill SNA

Woodland Trails Park




Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2022 All rights reserved.