Moonseed is a science fiction novel by Stephen Baxter, who will now for your delight and delectation blow up the earth.

Not many authors can get away with this in the first reel, unless they have something good for the third..and he has.

'Baxter offers Technicolor wide-screen catastrophe.' Daily Telegraph
'Moonseed is a fine book, a gripping read, well researched and intelligent.' Focus
'A suspenseful, high-tech, hard-science adventure from one of the best in science fiction' Science Fiction Chronicle
'Baxter is an acutely intelligent man, and his stories are driven by quite exceptional urgency of thinking' Washington Post Book World
Moonseed, also known as Yellow parilla, is a poisonous plant that is dangerously similar to wild grapes. It has heart-shaped leaves with long stalks, similar to that of a grape. It is a climbing vine, like a grape, however, it twines around whatever it is securing itself to, rather than sending out tendrils. It has clusters of purplish-black fruit, again similar to grape. Moonseed is found throughout North America.

Moonseed and grapes even ripen at the same time, early summer. They grow in the same places, thickets, stream banks, and woods. Moonseed contains an Alkaloid dauricine. It is highly toxic, the convulsions are a dead giveaway that you've been poisoned. It could prove fatal.

Now that I've scared the pants off anyone who likes to eat wild grape, I will tell you how to tell these plants apart. Firstly, the stems do not get as woody as grapes, they are lacking the loose bark as well. The final method to differentiate them is also the most precise, the fruit of the Moonseed contains a single flat, crescent-shaped seed. Grapes contain a few little seeds. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, cut your wild grapes in half before you eat them.

Sources:
Hall, Alan. The Wild Food Trail Guide. Holt, Rhinehart, and Winston. 1945.

Moon"seed` (?), n. Bot.

A climbing plant of the genus Menispermum; -- so called from the crescentlike form of the seeds.

 

© Webster 1913.

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