Woody vines and vinelike shrubs that are easy to grow in moist soil. Flowers are not prominent, but foliage is a lovely glossy green.
C. carolinus. CAROLINA MOONSEED. Woody deciduous or evergreen vine. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Deciduous in Upper and Middle South; evergreen in Lower and Coastal South. Native from Florida to Virginia and west to Texas. Grows rapidly to 1012 ft., climbing by tendrils; needs support. Oval, pointed, medium green leaves reach 4 in. long. Blooms in spring, with greenish white flowers in 3- to 5-in.-long clusters; blossoms are not as showy as the glossy bright red berries that appear in late summer and fall. Gets its common name from its crescent-shaped seeds. Tolerates most soils, including alkaline ones. Can be weedy and difficult to eradicate.
C. laurifolius. WILD OLIVE. Evergreen shrub. Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11. Native to the Himalayas. Usually multistemmed, with arching, spreading growth; shiny, leathery oblong leaves to 6 in., with three strongly marked veins running from base to tip. Grows slowly at first, then moderately rapidly to 25 ft. (or more) tall and wide; can be kept smaller by pruning. Long, willowy branches are as easily led and trained as vines; fastened to a trellis, they make an effective screen. Can also be trained as an espalier. Staked and trained as a tree, the plant takes on an umbrella shape.