Smilax bona-nox L.

  • Family: Smilacaceae (greenbriers)
  • Common name: cat brier, saw brier

    Woody vine, tough and wiry, usually spiny, to 8 m (25 ft) long. Stems usually green, 4-angled or ridged. Spines stiff, green, flattened at base, usually scattered along stem. Leaves hastate, deltoid, or ovate, 3-12 cm (1.2-4.7 in) long and 3-10 cm (1.2-3.9 in) wide, 3 or 5 main veins from the petiole, apex pointed, base truncate or rounded. Flowers numerous, small, greenish, blooming in Spring. Fruits black, about 5 mm (0.2 in) long, ripening in Fall.

    Distribution: Native to much of the southeastern third of the U. S. and northeastern Mexico.
    Habitat: Forests, old fields, roadsides.
    NWI status: FAC
    Comment:This species is highly variable in leaf size and shape. The young stems are nearly always square in cross-section, or at least ridged. Smilax is an ancient Greek name for an evergreen oak; bona-nox means "good night".

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/20/99
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