Smilax aspera L.

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Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Smilax aspera' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/smilax/smilax-aspera/). Accessed 2022-05-18.

Genus

Common Names

  • Rough Bindweed

Glossary

axillary
Situated in an axil.
midrib
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
ovate
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.

References

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Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Smilax aspera' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/smilax/smilax-aspera/). Accessed 2022-05-18.

An evergreen, semi-scandent plant with four- to six-angled stems and zigzag branches, armed with short, stout spines. Leaves very diverse in shape and size, but nearly always more or less heart-shaped at the base, and prickly on the margins, sometimes on the midrib also. As seen in cultivation the usual type of leaf is of a narrow, elongated, ovate shape, broadest almost or quite at the base, abruptly narrowed above the base, then tapering gradually to the point, five- to nine-nerved; sometimes the base is quite straight, and the leaf an elongated triangle; sometimes the leaf is heart-shaped and nearly as broad as long. They measure from 112 to 4 in. long, 34 to 3 in. wide; stalk spiny or unarmed, 14 to 1 in. long. Flowers pale green, fragrant, produced in terminal and axillary racemes, along which they are arranged in clusters of four to seven; the racemes vary from 112 to 4 in. long, and the flower-stalk of the individual flower is 112 to 13 in. long. Fruits about the size of a pea, red.

A species of wide distribution, from the Mediterranean region and the Canaries to India and southern Central Asia; cultivated in Britain since the mid-17th century. It is not reliably hardy in the colder parts of the country, and used to be commonly grown in cold greenhouses, where if planted out it makes a tangle of numerous stems eventually 8 to 10 ft high – a handsome cheerful evergreen, with graceful and fragrant, if not showy, flowers.


var. maculata (Roxb.) A. DC

Leaves usually blotched with white. Native of N. India and other areas.

var. mauritanica (Desf.) Gren. & Godr

Leaves larger, spines fewer.