Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Carolina Coralbead - Nephroia carolina   (L.) Lian Lian & Wei Wang
Members of Menispermaceae:
Only member of Nephroia in NC.
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Section 6 » Family Menispermaceae
Author(L.) Lian Lian & Wei Wang
DistributionPresent over the southern halves of the Mountains and Piedmont, north to Madison, Iredell, and Davidson counties, sparingly to Orange County. Also found in the southern third of the Coastal Plain, but north only to Cumberland and Onslow counties.

This is a Southern species, ranging north only to central NC, southern IL, and southeastern KS, and then south to central FL and most of TX.
AbundanceFairly common to frequent in the southern Piedmont. Uncommon to infrequent in the southern Mountains, and in the southeastern Coastal Plain. Absent in the Sandhills proper.
HabitatThis is a species of mesic to moist edges, openings, and thickets, often on slopes along streams. It grows in fencerows, along wooded borders, especially where moist or rich, and in various other sunny to partly sunny brushy places.
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is an herbaceous vine, sprawling or climbing, and reaching about 6-8 feet long. The alternate leaves are quite variable in shape, but they are somewhat thick and shiny green in color. The are generally ovate in shape, typically with a single rounded lobe on each side and a large middle one, but the margins are entire; the shape may resemble those of English Ivy (Hedera helix), though that exotic species has dark green leaves with white or pale veins. The flowers are tiny and insignificant, greenish to whitish, in clusters in leaf axils or in long terminal clusters. However, after blooming, the distinctive bright glossy red fruit (drupes) appear; each is about 1/4-inch across, and as they appear in clusters, they cannot be overlooked. The common name -- Coralbead -- refers to these distinctive fruit. This is a fairly easy vine to find in the southern part of the Piedmont, but it becomes quite rare to absent in the northern half of the state.
Taxonomic CommentsIn a 2020 paper by Lian et al., the authors place the 2 New World species of Cocculus into the resurrected genus Nephroia.

Other Common Name(s)Carolina Moonseed, Red Moonseed, Carolina Snailseed. "Snailseed" seems to be a rather newly coined common name, not noted in older references.
State RankS3 [S4]
Global RankG5
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