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Common Name: Canada Moonseed
Menispermum canadense is a Deciduous Climber up to 3.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine..
All parts of the plant are poisonous[
]. The fruit has been known to cause death in children[
Eastern N. America - Quebec and New England to Georgia, west to Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Moist woods and hedges near streams[
]. Deciduous woods and thickets, along streams, bluffs and rocky hillsides, fencerows, shade tolerant from sea level to 700 metres[
Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil that does not dry out excessively in summer, in sun or partial shade[
]. Prefers a position in full sun[
This species is hardy to about -30°c, but, due to a lack of summer heat, the plants usually produce soft growth in mild maritime areas and this can be cut to the ground at temperatures around -5 to -10°c[
The plants do not require pruning, but can benefit from being cut back to ground level every 2 - 3 years in order to keep them tidy[
A vigorous and fast-growing climbing plant that twines around supports, it also spreads freely by underground suckers[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Canada moonseed has occasionally been used in the past for its medicinal virtues, though it is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism.
The roots are a bitter tonic, diuretic, laxative, nervine, purgative (in large doses), stomachic and tonic[
]. A tea made from the root has been used in the treatment of indigestion, arthritis, bowel disorders and as a blood cleanser[
]. The root is applied externally as a salve on chronic sores[
]. Use with caution[
], see notes above on toxicity.
Mint species are usually good bee and butterfly attractant plants, supplying them with good quality pollen and nectar[
Mints are usually quite aromatic plants and they make good companions for cabbages and tomatoes, their aromatic nature helping to repel insect pests..
Seed - sow late winter in a greenhouse[
]. Two months cold stratification speeds up germination[
] so it might be better to sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
]. Germination is usually good[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of mature wood, autumn in a frame[
Division of suckers in early spring[
]. The suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we prefer to pot them up and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are established[