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Menispermum canadense fruit-seed.jpg
Fruit and seed of Menispermum canadense
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Menispermaceae
Genus: Menispermum

see text

Menispermum (moonseed) is a small genus of deciduous climbing woody vines in the moonseed family (Menispermaceae). Plants in this genus have small dioecious flowers, and clusters of small grape-like drupes.[1] The name, moonseed, comes from the shape of the seed, which resembles a crescent moon. The word Menispermum is derived from the Greek words mene, meaning moon, and sperma meaning seed. The common name moonseed is also applied to some other species in the related genus Cocculus.


There are only three or four species in the genus Menispermum,[2]including:

Formerly placed here[edit]


All parts of these plants are known to be poisonous. Children have been killed from eating the fruits.[4]

Asian Moonseed has been used to treat skin disorders, rheumatism,[5] and cervical cancer.[6] Canadian Moonseed has been used in herbal medicine as a tonic, laxative, dermatological aid, venereal aid, and diuretic.[7] Yellow Medicine County in Minnesota is named after one of this plant's common names.

Plants of this species are sometimes grown as ornamentals in gardens. Gardeners can propagate this plant from the division of runners or by seed.


  1. ^ Flora of North America
  2. ^ "Flora of China" (PDF). Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "GRIN Species Records of Menispermum". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  4. ^ FDA Poisonous Plant Database
  5. ^ PIW Database
  6. ^ Dr. Duke's Ethnobotanical Database on USDA GRIN Taxonomy: Asian Moonseed
  7. ^ Dr. Duke's Database of USDA GRIN Taxonomy: Canadian Moonseed
Menispermum canadense from Britton & Brown 1913