Another new plant friend has also turned out to be a horribly invasive species. This one was found in my backyard and is Carolina snailseed or Cocculus carolinus. It gets its named from the snail-shell shaped seed which can be seen in the photo above.
At first I thought the bright red berries belonged to the honeysuckle vine which is also in the same area. But these berries have stuck around while the honeysuckle berries all dropped off or were eaten. I then thought it was some species of Smilax (greenbriers) but with some help from a few fellow naturalists we pinpointed the plant as a Carolina snailseed.
The berries are highly toxic to humans, and while I haven’t been able to track down any medicinal benefits for the plant, it’s still an interesting find.