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Kuang-yen-pa-hsieh Smilax glabra

Previously known as:

  • Smilax blinii
  • Smilax calophylla var. concolor
  • Smilax dunniana
  • Smilax glabra var. maculata
  • Smilax hookeri
  • Smilax lanceolata
  • Smilax mengmaensis
  • Smilax trigona
Phonetic Spelling
SMIL-aks GLAY-bruh
Description

Smilax glabra is known as Tufuling in traditional Chinese medicine and in Hindu Ayurvedic medicine. The root is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Lab studies suggest that it may have antiviral properties and may stimulate the immune system. However, studies have only been conducted on rats and it is not known if the same effects would occur in humans.

This plant is not readily available in North America. In its native Asian habitats, Smilax glabra grows in trees and over large shrubs, climbing by tendrils that wrap around twigs, branches. 

The species is not self-fertile as 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. It spreads primarily by rhizomes..

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#partial shade#edible plant#white flowers#shrub#shade tolerant#medicinal#broadleaf evergreen#tendrils#low maintenance#spring flowers#slopes#barrier#berries#dappled shade#moist soil#well-drained soil#climbing vines#dappled sunlight#woody vine#dioecious#rhizomes#thickets#purple berries#forests#acidic soil tolerant#alkaline soil tolerant#twining vine#asian garden#vertical spaces#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#vine#rapid#screen#moth larvae#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#exotic#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#partial shade#edible plant#white flowers#shrub#shade tolerant#medicinal#broadleaf evergreen#tendrils#low maintenance#spring flowers#slopes#barrier#berries#dappled shade#moist soil#well-drained soil#climbing vines#dappled sunlight#woody vine#dioecious#rhizomes#thickets#purple berries#forests#acidic soil tolerant#alkaline soil tolerant#twining vine#asian garden#vertical spaces#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#vine#rapid#screen#moth larvae#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#exotic#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Smilax
    Species:
    glabra
    Family:
    Smilacaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The rhizome has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for infections and inflammatory conditions as it is believed to have antioxidant, antiviral, renoprotective, immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and anticancer properties. In India, fresh roots are made into an extract to treat sores and venereal diseases.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China, the Himalayas, and Indochina
    Distribution:
    Assam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hainan, Laos, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a larval host for the moth species Marmara smilacisella.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Twining
    Edibility:
    The cooked root can be dried and ground into a powder. and is rich in starch. Smilax glabra roots taste sweet and are used in a Chinese dessert to set certain types of jelly.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 9 ft. 0 in. - 16 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 9 ft. 0 in. - 16 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Shrub
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Climbing
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Appendage:
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Berries are blue-black, 6--10 mm in diam., white powdery (glaucous)
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Wheel
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Male flowers have greenish-white calyx and corolla, slightly 6-angled, barely open/ The outer tepals are broadly obovate-orbicular, Female flowers have inner tepals which are entire at the margin and staminodes.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaf is elliptic- or ovate-lanceolate
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Oval
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stem branched, terete, woody, smooth. Tendrils are well developed.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Screen/Privacy