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Plants of the UNF Campus

Smilax laurifolia - Bamboo vine
Family Smilacaceae


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 holiday garlands.


See this plant in moist, shady natural areas on campus.


Herbaceous vine to about fifteen feet tall.

Care Instructions:

Light: part sun to part shade

Water: usually in moist but not soggy soils, somewhat drought tolerant

Soil: adaptable

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.