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Catbriar Smilax bona-nox

Previously known as:

  • Smilax bona-nox var. exauriculata
  • Smilax bona-nox var. hastata
  • Smilax bona-nox var. hederifolia
Phonetic Spelling
SMY-laks BOH-nuh noks
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Saw Greenbrier is a flowering native vine that grows in full sun to partial shade and prefers moist soils.  It tolerates a wide range of soils including dry and overly wet, sandy, to rocky to high organic content.  A species often found in disturbed areas. Individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  It can be very weedy.   It is resistant to many herbicides and it has a persistent woody rhizome which may make it difficult to manage.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#edible weed#wildlife plant#shade tolerant#weedy#cover plant#ducks#berries#squirrels#prickles#small mammals#food source#wild turkeys#racoons#opossums#vines#dioecious#rhizomes#bears#native vine#native weed#perennial weed#grouse#humidity tolerant#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#edible weed#wildlife plant#shade tolerant#weedy#cover plant#ducks#berries#squirrels#prickles#small mammals#food source#wild turkeys#racoons#opossums#vines#dioecious#rhizomes#bears#native vine#native weed#perennial weed#grouse#humidity tolerant#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Smilax
    Species:
    bona-nox
    Family:
    Smilacaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used leaves as cigarette wrappers, roots to treat urinary infections and to make bread.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Eastern U.S.A., Mexico
    Distribution:
    Delaware south to Florida, west to Kansas and Texas, north to Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and in parts of Bermuda, Mexico
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are eaten by wood ducks, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, fish crows, black bears, opossums, raccoons, squirrels, and many species of songbirds. White-tailed deer browse the foliage. It also provides cover for small animals and birds.
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Edibility:
    Cooked roots can be ground into a powder and made into gelatine. Young shoots can be eaten raw or cooked.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Vine
    Weed
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Appendage:
    Prickles
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    One-seeded drupes are eaten by birds and help with dispersal. The fruits look like clusters of small grapes.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Insignificant
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Tepals
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Deltoid
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The thick leaves often have a pair of lobes at the base and often have prickly margins. They are green, mottled with white.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Green
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Lower stems and prickles are hairy.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Security
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat
    Humidity
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Spines/Thorns
    Weedy