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Smilax

Smilax Flower

All About the Smilax Flower

The smilax is a plant that is known by several different names. One of them is greenbrier, which is probably more commonly known in this country. In the Caribbean, it is known as Sarsaparilla. It grows and climbs like ivy. It can grow as a bushy shrub by itself or it can climb up a tree and grow as tall as thirty feet. There are a great number of species in this genus; up to three hundred and fifty go be exact. North of Mexican latitudes, only about twenty species are commonly found. The smilax will grow gorgeous little berries that will remain on its branches all winter. Berries are the colors of bright red or dark blue to black. The smilax has been given the meaning of loveliness. This is perhaps because of the pretty red berries, but could be attributed to something completely different.

Description of the Smilax Flower

These are hardy plants that have curved thorns and pretty berries. Its leaves are heart shaped and depending on what species you are interested in, some leaves are as small as 4 cm while other species have leaves that are as long as 30 cm. The smilax is hard to destroy once it has taken root in your garden. It does propagate on its own through its underground rhizomes. If you see a smilax and there are no berries on it, then it is probably a single clone that cannot fertilize itself. It needs to be pollinated by a nearby smilax of the opposite sex before it can bear berries.

Uses for the Smilax Flower

A very good use for smilax is as a natural property divider. If you have a large piece of property, smilax will provide a great division between yours and your neighbor’s yard. If you let the smilax plant grow over an old, ugly fence, it will grow high enough to provide some privacy and thick enough to prevent animals from passing through easily. Some animals, like deer, may find great shelter in the thicket of the smilax growth. The flowering plant also provides nourishment for birds during the meager winter months. Just make sure you don’t have any smilax planted near where your cars are parked. The bird droppings after they have eaten the berries will damage the cars’ finish and leave discolored stains on your cars’ roofs, hoods and trunks. It is a good ornamental flowering plant that has many practical uses.

Growing the Smilax Flower

Since the smilax grows in different climates, you should not have any problems growing it in your own yard. It doesn’t work well in a very disciplined type of landscape but in a natural setting, like an English garden, smilax would be a great addition. You need to know about where to plant it to get the full benefit of a good growth. Water and soil are also very important to be successful in the propagation of this flowering plant. Full sunshine and a slightly acidic soil will be beneficial for the proper growth of smilax. It grows from its own rhizomes that are underground. This is important in the plant’s survival because the underground root system provides protection from fires during forest fires and ensures the plant’s survival.