Friday, August 10, 2012

How To Tell The Difference Between Edible Wild Grapes And Moonseed

There's a vine that grows plentifully around upstate NY - you'll find it in woodsy areas as well as backyards - around these parts we've called it "Moonseed" and I always thought it was - and maybe it is a type or variety of "Moonseed"... it's leaves do NOT resemble some of the "Moonseed" pictures I've seen on the Net, but it definitely is NOT any "grape" - [could it be a "Virginia Creeper"(?)] ***- on a couple of forums I noticed people advising others that the best rule of thumb is this: (wild) GRAPES have TENDRILS (pictured below near the bottom of this article).

I've read where "Moonseed" has a D-shaped or Moon-shaped seed (hence the name) - but after taking the picture of the "Moonseed" you see here, I broke the berry open and it had 4 little seeds in it, and I know for certain it is NOT from a grapevine (there are absolutely no tendrils!)***Virginia Creeper has been ruled out...

Vitis labrusca (Fox grape) is a species of grapevines belonging to the Vitis genus in the flowering plant family Vitaceae. The vines are native to the eastern United States and are the source of many grape cultivars, including Catawba and Concord grapes, and many hybrid grape varieties such as Agawam, Alexander and Onaka.
My apologies! I realize these pictures aren't the greatest: the BlackBerry takes lousy pix compared to my old Kyocera WildCard...

Don't confuse edible wild grapes with Moonseed ::: Menispermum canadense (Canadian Moonseed, Common Moonseed, or Yellow Parilla) is a flowering plant in the family Menispermaceae, native to eastern North America, from southern Canada south to northern Florida, and from the Atlantic coast west to Manitoba and Texas. It occurs in thickets, moist woods, and the banks of streams.

As I mentioned, my "Moonseed" has NO TENDRILS and more than one seed.

Here is a link to a photo of bona-fide Moonseed seeds.

What can it be if it is not the "Canada Moonseed"? Whatever it is, I don't imagine it would be wise for humans to consume. If you ahve any clues or knowledge, feel free to check in "comments" or if you're on facebook I have FB Comments enabled (you must be already logged in to facebook)... some of the information here comes from WikiPedia.

The fruit of Canada Moonseed are poisonous and can be fatal. The moonseed vine lacks tendrils, whilst the vine of the wild grape has forked tendrils. While foraging for wild grapes one should examine the seeds of the fruit to make sure one is not eating moonseeds: moonseeds have a single crescent-shaped seed, while grapes have round seeds.

Moonseed is discussed extensively on internet gardening forums. The fruits of another variety of Wild grape, Vitis riparia, are roughly similar to those of Menispermum canadense (Canada moonseed).

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