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Smilax rotundifolia

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Smilax rotundifolia, known as roundleaf greenbrier<ref>Template:PLANTS</ref> and common greenbrier, is a woody vine native to the eastern and south-central United States and to eastern Canada.<ref name=x/><ref>Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map</ref><ref>Flora of North America Vol. 26 Page 476 Common greenbrier or catbrier, bullbrier, horsebrier Smilax rotundifolia Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1030. 1753. </ref> It is a common and conspicuous part of the natural forest ecosystems in much of its native range. The leaves are glossy green, petioled, alternate, and circular to heart-shaped. They are generally 5–13 cm long. Common greenbrier climbs other plants using green tendrils growing out of the petioles.<ref name=weeds>Template:Cite book</ref>

The stems are round and green and have sharp spines. The flowers are greenish, and are produced from April to August. The fruit is a bluish black berry that ripens in September.<ref name=weeds/>The young shoots of common greenbrier are reported to be excellent when cooked like asparagus. The young leaves and tendrils can be prepared like spinach or added directly to salads. The roots have a natural gelling agent in them that can be extracted and used as a thickening agent. <ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

Cultivation and uses

Common greenbrier grows in roadsides, landscapes, clearings and woods. In clearings it often forms dense and impassable thickets.<ref name=weeds/> It grows throughout Eastern North America from Nova Scotia in the east, to as far north as Ontario and Kansas, south to Florida and as far west as Texas.<ref name=weeds/>

The young shoots of common greenbrier are reported to be excellent when cooked like asparagus.<ref name=edible/> The young leaves and tendrils can be prepared like spinach or added directly to salads.<ref name=edible/> The roots have a natural gelling agent in them that can be extracted and used as a thickening agent.<ref name=edible>Template:Cite book</ref>

Introduction

Smilax rotundifolia Can be found as far south as Florida and ranges north all the way into Canada. It ranges from the east coast of the United states west into Texas and Oklahoma. It is a weed and invasive species in several states. Smilax rotundifolia can be found in almost all habit types including wetlands. This vine has many different uses such as fuel for fires, cooking, human and animal consumption. It has berries in late winter and early spring which makes it important for various wildlife to eat while other food choices are limited.<ref name=":0">Template:Cite web</ref>

Description

Like its common name suggests "Common Green Brier" Smilax rotundifolia is a green vine with prickles. It also has rounded alternate leaves about 2 to 5 inches long. Smilax rotundifolia is a crawling vine that will in tangle its self within other plants and crawls with small tendrils.

The woody vine can grow up to 20 feet long and climb various objects and vegetation around it using tendrils. If there is nothing for it to cling onto it will grow across the ground. It has woody stems that are pale green in color and glabrous with four sides as the vine dies it goes from a green color to a dark brown color. Along the stem there are thorns that are about 1/3-inch-long. Illinois wild flowers describes the prickles as. Some stems of Common green brier can be found without prickles on them. The upper and bottom of the leaves are different shades of green with the top being darker than the bottom. The leaves are glabrous and never glaucus. <ref name=":1">Template:Cite web</ref>

There are 3 to 5 primary veins per leaf with parallel venation. Along the lower surfaces of the primary veins it I possible to find small prickles but they are not always there. The petioles are a quarter to half an inch long, light green in color and glabrous. Small sheathe at the base of each petiole, there is a pair of small sheathes that end with tendrils.<ref name=":1" />

Common greenbrier has white flowers that form in umbels of 3-20 flowers about half an inch to two inches long. The white flowers grow out from the axils of the leaves. Flowers are produced on different vines since they are male and female. Both Male and female flowers are about the same size at a quarter inch long. these flowers will bloom for about two weeks between late spring and early summer. After this blooming period is over the female flowers are replaced by a berry.

Fire Ecology

Smilax rotundifolia grows from rhizomes so it can resist fire by resprouting. Fires that start cause a open canopies select for Smilax rotundifolia.

In New Hampshire it was found that Smilax rotundifolia responds to fire with rapid vigorous vegetative growth in the spring and fall. This was found in a prescribed burn in a white pine forest with low intensity with flames, 20 inches (50 cm) high burning on the surface liter layer. After two years the amount of Smilax rotundifolia was back to the original density. Using different frequency’s and intensities of fire no difference was found.<ref name=":2">Template:Cite web</ref>

Habitat and Distribution

Smilax rotundifolia is found in the eastern half of the continental United States including Texas,South Dakota, and Oklahoma with the exception of Vermont. It ranges north to south from Florida up into Northern Ontario.<ref name=":02">Template:Cite web</ref> Smilax rotundifolia Is native to the USA.

Common greenbrier grows in roadsides, landscapes, clearings and woods. In clearings it often forms dense and impassable thickets. It grows throughout Eastern North America from Nova Scotia in the east, to as far north as Ontario and Kansas, south to Florida and as far west as Texas.

Wildlife

The berries and leaves often persist into in late winter. Smilax rotundifolia is a very important food plant in the winter while there are more limited choice of food. Examples of wildlife that will eat the berries and leaves in the late winter and early spring are Northern Cardinals, white throated sparrows, white tailed deer, and rabbits.<ref name=":22">Template:Cite web</ref>

Conservation

For most of states s. rotundifolia is categorized as Least Concern due to its relative abundance. It has also been recorded as an invasive species in many areas.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Ethnobotany

In the Smilax genus there are many different uses of plant for medical treatments around the world. In the Cherokee Indians used Smilax rotundifolia to treat pain in the leg. Smilax rotundifolia vines and roots were boiled together with tea was used to treat an upset stomach. Along with drinking this tea mixture a prayer would have been said so that the treatment would work.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

Taxonomy

The family Smilacaceae known as the catbrier family contains the Smilax genus.Smilax contains 26 species  including S. rotundifolia the common green brier. Other species in the genus Smilax include Smilax glauca the cat greenbrier, Smilax china china root, and Smilax aspera rough bindweed.

The genus Smilax was originally described by Linnaeus. Smilax rotundifolia was also described by Linnaeus<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Identification

Like its common name suggests "Common Green Brier" Smilax rotundifolia is a green vine with prickles. It also has rounded alternate leaves about 2 to 5 inches long. Smilax rotundifolia is a crawling vine that will in tangle its self within other plants and crawls with small tendrils.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

References

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External links

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