About two hundred species of Smilax are native to Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Some South American species produce the
flavors for sasparilla and root beer. Several species, including this one, are native
to the southeastern United
States. Bamboo vine has slender, spiny,
twining stems rising from stout underground stems (rhizomes.) The leathery
leaves are evergreen. Fruits are blue-black to black at maturity. Native
Americans have used this species and its relatives for food, medicines, and
dyes. In recent times, the slender stems of evergreen foliage were used as
See this plant in moist, shady natural areas on campus.
Herbaceous vine to about fifteen feet tall.
Light: part sun to part shade
Water: usually in moist but not soggy soils, somewhat drought tolerant
This spiny, climbing native plant is not found in local
nurseries. Probably, it plant is viewed as a weed in most gardens. Birds eat
the fruits. It is appropriate for a natural garden.
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