Smilax alpini Willd.
Smilax asperovariabilis Pers.
Smilax bermudensis Duhamel
Smilax cantab Lynch
Smilax hastate Willd.
Smilax hederifolia Beyr. ex Kunth
Smilax horrida Poir.
Smilax lomoplis Raf.
Smilax medica M.Martens & Galeotti
Smilax pandurata Pursh
Smilax platycentron Schltdl.
Smilax pseudosarsa Vis.
Smilax pubens Willd.
Smilax renifolia Small
Smilax rubens P.Watson
Smilax senticosa Kunth
Smilax variegata Walter
Common Name: Greenbriar
Smilax bona-nox is an evergreen, climbing shrub producing a cluster of prickly stems from rhizomes that are tuberous, woody or stoloniferous. The stems can be 5 metres or more long, often scrambling and occurring in very dense, tangled masses[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine.
South-eastern N. America - Oklahoma to New Jersey, south to Texas and Florida; eastern and southern Mexico; Caribbean - Bermuda
Dry to moist soils, sand dunes, fields, clearings and thickets[
]. Well-drained to wet areas in woods, fields, thickets, hedgerows, floodplain forests, growing in full to partial sun; at elevations from sea level to 1,000 metres[
Succeeds in most soils in sun or semi-shade[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Root - cooked[
]. It can be dried and ground into a powder[
]. The root can be made into a gelatine[
]. The root contains a pectin-like substance[
Young shoots - raw or cooked[
Fruit - raw. A rubbery texture, it is chewed[
] (and chewed and chewed presumably![
]) Produced in umbels of up to 20 fruits, each black, ovoid to spherical fruit is about 6 - 8mm in diameter[
The root is diuretic. It is used in the treatment of dropsy and urinary complaints[
]. A tea made from the roots is used to help the expelling of afterbirth[
]. Reports that the roots contain the hormone testosterone have not been confirmed, they might contain steroid precursors, however[
The stem prickles have been rubbed on the skin as a counter-irritant to relieve localised pains, muscle cramps and twitching[
A tea made from the leaves and stems has been used as a general tonic and also in the treatment of rheumatism and stomach problems[
The wilted leaves are applied as a poultice to boils[
Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse[
]. This note probably refers to the tropical members of the genus, seeds of plants from cooler areas seem to require a period of cold stratification, some species taking 2 or more years to germinate[
]. We sow the seed of temperate species in a cold frame as soon as we receive it, and would sow the seed as soon as it is ripe if we could obtain it then[
]. When the seedlings eventually germinate, prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first year, though we normally grow them on in pots for 2 years. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer.
Division in early spring as new growth begins[
]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Cuttings of half-ripe shoots, July in a frame[