Plant DetailShow Menu

Cat Greenbriar Smilax glauca

Previously known as:

  • Smilax brasiliensis
  • Smilax glauca var. genuina
  • Smilax glauca var. leurophylla
Phonetic Spelling
SMEE-laks GLAW-kah
Description

Smilax glauca is easily recognized by its glaucous to whitened abaxial leaf surfaces. It is reportedly the weediest species of the genus. The plants tend to be evergreen in the more southern part of the distribution.  It is commonly found in dry to mesic forests and woodlands, bottomland and riparian forests, bluffs,  prairies, old fields, fencerows, pastures, and roadsides.

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 and tolerates a wide range of soil types.

Fire Risk: This plant has an extreme flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home.  Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home.  

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#deciduous#partial shade#edible plant#shrub#semi-evergreen#weedy#medicinal#barrier#berries#fence#dappled shade#fast growing#fire#extreme flammability#NC native#climbing vines#dioecious#rhizomes#pastures#thickets#prickly#native vine#acidic soil tolerant#prairies#perennial weed#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bluff#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#deciduous#partial shade#edible plant#shrub#semi-evergreen#weedy#medicinal#barrier#berries#fence#dappled shade#fast growing#fire#extreme flammability#NC native#climbing vines#dioecious#rhizomes#pastures#thickets#prickly#native vine#acidic soil tolerant#prairies#perennial weed#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bluff#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Smilax
    Species:
    glauca
    Family:
    Smilacaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Stem prickles have been rubbed on the skin as a counter-irritant to relieve localized pains and muscle cramps. The leaves and stems have been made into tea for the treatment of rheumatism and stomach problems. The wilted leaves have also been applied as a poultice to boils.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    N. America - New England to Florida, west to Texas, Mexico
    Fire Risk Rating:
    extreme flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Smilax provides cover and protection for many types of birds. Deer, black bears, and rabbits eat the leaves and vines, beavers will eat the roots.
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Edibility:
    The leaves and roots are edible. Roots can be boiled and made into a jelly or dried and ground into a powder and used when making bread. Young shoots in spring can be eaten either raw or cooked and are similar to asparagus in taste. Early American settlers would mix root pulp with molasses and parched corn and allow it to ferment in order to make a type of 'root beer'
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Vine
    Weed
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Appendage:
    Prickles
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    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
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Dark bluish-black berries with glaucus bloom, 1/3" in diameter, appearing in clusters
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small, greenish-yellow with 6 tepals or 6 stamens, blooming in clusters late spring to early summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are prominently parallel-veined, oblong to narrowly cordate, 2- 4 " long, green or variegated with pale patches above and whitened abaxial leaf surfaces.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Green
    Light Brown
    Bark Description:
    Greenish brown
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Slender, round, green and often covered with a white waxy bloom, with weak prickles. Thorny stems climb by tendrils.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Screen/Privacy
    Security
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns
    Weedy