Calycocarpum lyonii (Pursh) A. Gray


Calycocarpum lyonii plant

Family - Menispermaceae

Stem - Vining and climbing to 20 m or more, glabrous, lacking tendrils or spines.


Leaves - Alternate, petiolate, simple, shallowly to deeply lobed, glabrous to moderately hairy, the base deeply cordate.


Inflorescence - Axillary racemes or compound racemes to 24 cm long.


Calycocarpum_lyonii_inflorescence2Compound inflorescence.

Flowers - Sepals 1.5-2.5 mm long. Petals absent or minute. Stamens 6-12. Pistils 3.


Fruits - Fruits to 18 mm long, ellipsoidal, green (drying bluish black), the endocarp smooth, deeply bowl-shaped.


Calycocarpum_lyonii_fruits2Fruit and endocarp.

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Bottomland and mesic forests, streambanks, pastures.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Other info. - This vine can be found in the southern half of the state. The plant has a few lookalikes and can be somewhat difficult to identify in the field unless it is in flower. The fruits of the plant are also very distinctive, being nearly spherical and about the size of grapes. Inside is a hard, tan-colored endocarp shaped like a bowl with a toothed rim. The leaves of this species are very thin and wilt as soon as they are picked or hit by hot, direct sunlight.

Photographs taken in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 6-24-04 (DETenaglia); also at Onondaga Cave State Park, Crawford County, MO, 9-5-2011, 5-28-2012, 6-9-2014, and 9-11-2017 (SRTurner).