Smilax rotundifolia
Family Liliaceae

* Stems green, usually with thorns, climbing by tendrils.
* Leaves egg to heart-shaped, shiny, may be leathery or evergreen, 3-7" long.
* Flowers small, greenish.
* Fruits small berries, ranging in color from red to blue to black, with one or more large seeds.
* Height: Climbs up trees and over shrubs, forms dense thickets.

Natural History:
* Flowers April - August.
* Fruits August - spring.
* Habitat: Sunny areas of swamps, forests, thickets, and open areas created by fallen trees.
* Range: Eastern United States.
* Native.

* Greenbrier fruits are eaten by several species of songbirds as well as wild turkey and ruffed grouse.

* Colonial Massachusetts names for the plant include Catbrier (perhaps because catbirds love to nest in its thorny branches), Biscuit-Plant, Wait-a-Bit, Hellfetter, Blasphemy-Vine, and Tramp's Troubles.

* "Catbrier (Smilax) they call here 'the devil's wrapping yarn'."
-Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862

* In 1590, Thomas Harriot wrote of greenbrier, "From these roots while they be new or fresh beeing chopt into small pieces and stampt is strained with water a juice that makes bread, and also being boiled a very good spoonemeat in manner of a gelly, and is much better in taste if it bee tempered with oyle."


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008