Definitions

Menispermum

Menispermum

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. 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 name is also applied to some other species in related genera (Cocculus).

Species

There are only three species in the genus Menispermum. They are:

Uses

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

Asian Moonseed has been used to treat skin disorders, rheumatism, and cervical cancer. Canadian Moonseed has been used in herbal medicine as a tonic, laxative, dermatological aid, venereal aid, and diuretic. 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.

References

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