Vines , to 5 m or more; rhizomes to 1.4 cm diam. Stems with spreading pubescence. Leaves: petiole to 10 cm. Leaf blade generally ovate or deltate, sometimes sagittate or hastate, to 17 × 14 cm, membranous to leathery, base sometimes with 3-5 lobes, margins usually entire, apex acuminate to rounded, then often retuse, mucronate; surfaces abaxially slightly pale, rarely glaucous, sparsely to densely pilose, adaxially glabrous to sparsely pilose; venation 5. Inflorescences to 22 cm; bracteoles often present; rachis glabrous or tomentose, not glaucous. Flowers: perianth parts not glaucous; sepals in 3 series, outer sepals 0-3, ovate, 0.3-1.4 × 0.2-0.8 mm, pilose, middle 3 sepals ovate to elliptic or obovate, 1-3 × 0.6-2 mm, glabrous to pilose, inner 3 sepals elliptic to nearly orbiculate or obovate, 0.8-3 × 0.8-2 mm, glabrous to sparsely pilose; petals (5-)6, yellow, elliptic, deltate, rhombic, obovate, or nearly orbiculate, 0.6-2 × 0.4-1.4 mm, glabrous. Staminate flowers: stamens (5-)6, to 2.2 mm; pistillodes to 0.5 mm. Pistillate flowers: staminodes to 0.8 mm; pistils to 2 mm. Drupes red, 5-8 mm diam. 2 n = 78. Flowering late spring-early fall. Woodland and shrub borders, along streams, fencerows, waste places; 0-500 m; Ala., Ark., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kans., Ky., La., Miss., Mo., N.C., Okla., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va.; Mexico. Cocculus carolinus was used by some Native American tribes medicinally to treat blood ailments (D. E. Moerman 1986).
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Infrequent in a few of the southwestern counties on the banks of streams, ponds, and sloughs that are usually inundated each year.
Slender climber to 2-3 m; lvs variable, deltoid to ovate, 5-15 cm, entire to 3-lobed, cordate to truncate at base, acute to retuse at the mucronate tip, usually hairy beneath; staminate infls 1 dm, pistillate much shorter; fls 3-4 mm wide; fr red, 5-8 mm; 2n=78. Moist woods and thickets; Va. to Fla. and Tex., n. in the interior to s. Ind. and Mo. June- Aug. (Epibaterium c.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.