There is a large-leaf climbing vine just up the Dan River from the Schoolfield Bridge where the Danville Recreation Department launches its summertime canoes. For years I had felt uncertain about the identification of this vine. However, one sunny day in the middle of June the botanical password appeared: the vine was flowering. Since plant identification is based on floral structure, I determined that this was the Common Moonseed Vine (Menispermum canadense). Since then I have observed several Moonseed Vines in the lowlands along the Dan River.
In September ripened fruits appear as whitish-powdered grapes; tasting these berries is a “no-no.” If eaten in large quantities, these berries are poisonous.
Copyright © 2005 William T. Hathaway.