Moonseed (Common name)

General poisoning notes:

Moonseed (Menispermum canadense) is a native vine found in south-central Canada. In Pennsylvania the fruits of this plant have apparently killed children (Gress 1935, Lampe and McCann 1985).

References:

  • Gress, E. M. 1935. Poisonous plants of Pennsylvania. Penn. Dep. Agric. Gen. Bull., 531. 51 pp.
  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Menispermum canadense L.
Vernacular name(s):
moonseed
Scientific family name:
Menisperamaceae
Vernacular family name:
moonseed

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Menispermum canadense

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada. , Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Quebec

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or illustration

Images: moonseed - Google Search

Toxic parts:

  • mature fruit

References:

  • Gress, E. M. 1935. Poisonous plants of Pennsylvania. Penn. Dep. Agric. Gen. Bull., 531. 51 pp.
  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Moonseed contains alkaloids that may be responsible for the toxicity of the fruit to humans (Lampe and McCann 1985). Acutamine, an alkaloid, has been found in the aboveground part of moonseed, but has not been proved to cause the toxicity. Other alkaloids have also been found in the rhizomes (Doskotch and Knapp 1971).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • acutumine
  • unknown chemical

References:

  • Doskotch, R. W., Knapp, J. E. 1971. Alkaloids from Menispermum canadense. Lloydia (Cinci), 34: 292-300.
  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

Gress (1935) describes a case where children ingested moonseed berries and later died. Lampe and McCann (1985) state that convulsions may result when the berries are ingested.

References:

  • Gress, E. M. 1935. Poisonous plants of Pennsylvania. Penn. Dep. Agric. Gen. Bull., 531. 51 pp.

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