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A deciduous or partially evergreen climber, with angular or square branchlets, slightly armed with short, stout prickles. Leaves very variable, roundish, heart-shaped, fiddle-shaped, spear-shaped or three-lobed, 11⁄2 to 41⁄2 in. long, always pointed, green and glossy on both sides, often bristly or prickly at the thickened margins and on the nerves beneath, five- to nine-nerved; stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long. Flowers deep green, produced in umbels, the main-stalk of which is 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Berries black with a bluish bloom, round, 1⁄4 in. across; six to twelve, sometimes more, in an umbel.
Native of N. America from Texas and N.E. Mexico to Florida, north to Kansas and Delaware; in cultivation 1739. A hardy species, allied to S. rotundifolia, differing in the thickened leaf-margins usually set with prickles or bristles and the longer-stalked umbels.