Plant ID forum: thorny weed vine, ID please?

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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Sep 13, 2014 9:58 AM CST
I dig so much of this out and don't know what to call it. We sometimes call it "devil vine" or "devil weed" but there are (of course) other plants with that common name, and IMO none as devilish as this stuff.


Thumb of 2014-09-13/kylaluaz/5c5572 Got a good chunk out today.


Thumb of 2014-09-13/kylaluaz/1dd1bf Thumb of 2014-09-13/kylaluaz/2d821f

It has wicked thorns and very tightly coiled tendrils which it uses to attach to any and everything including other plants:
Thumb of 2014-09-13/kylaluaz/7a008a

Deep rooted, the roots branch off from these nodules which are usually at least six inches below soil surface and often deeper:
Thumb of 2014-09-13/kylaluaz/117213

Those are respectable size nodules but I've seen them two and three times as large (like maybe an inch and a half in diameter.)

I'm sure someone knows this one! It's pretty common in the Southeast.

Thanks in advance.
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Sep 13, 2014 10:29 AM CST
Looks like Smilax bona-nox, commonly called catclaw or cat brier


http://herbarium.biol.sc.edu/527/plants/Smilax_bona-nox.jpg

Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Sep 13, 2014 10:35 AM CST
Yes! Smilax it is; I knew I'd recognize the name from when I lived in this region before.

Catclaw is not a mean enough name but I am sure devil's claw is already taken.

Thanks!
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Sep 13, 2014 10:41 AM CST
It's commonly called greenbrier here in Texas. Noxious plant to deal with and really hard to eradicate. Catclaw here is a shrub - a really nasty shrub. I can see how this vine might be called that as well due to the shape of the 'claws'. I think in the old days in Arkansas, they made pipes out of the nodules. I've seen a couple of those pipes.
Donald
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Sep 13, 2014 10:50 AM CST
I think I'll go back to calling it devil weed because it is the very devil to weed out.

But knowing its real name is Smilax helps. And yeah, it's awful stuff. I mean, I'm sure it's of some use ... just hard to imagine what. And, not in my garden!
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Sep 13, 2014 11:05 AM CST
Saw Greenbrier (Smilax bona-nox) (Catbrier etc.) is awful ... grows wild here in Florida too. I've been attacked by those "claws" many times while trying to pull and dig it up! It's found in a lot of areas, especially in the south: http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=smbo2
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Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Sep 13, 2014 11:13 AM CST
It is also called Bull Brier, which sounds meaner than cats claw.... The combination of spotted leaves and thorns is a "wish it were" dead give away. Grumbling
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Sep 13, 2014 11:36 AM CST
Doesn't look like it's useful for anything, actually.

Bull brier is a name I also recall hearing, years ago.

Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
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Moonhowl
Sep 13, 2014 11:43 AM CST
Any one up for a snack? Whistling

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Smilax+bona-no...
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Sep 13, 2014 12:05 PM CST

Moderator

It's "useful" for quite a number of things actually. In the spring, the tips of the shoots are edible, much like asparagus. A number of medicinal compounds have been derived from it and it's a great wildlife plant.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Sep 13, 2014 12:12 PM CST

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We relish eating these every spring. It's one of our favorite wild plants to eat.
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Sep 13, 2014 12:16 PM CST
Good to know!

The first site I looked at here didn't give it very high ratings as a wildlife plant, but on-the-ground observation probably has more accurate data.

No doubt if I were working with acreage instead of a backyard garden I'd be happier about its existence, but for me, it's just a PITA.

Green Grin!
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 13, 2014 12:44 PM CST
Smilax = smile as you take an axe to it. Rolling on the floor laughing
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Sep 13, 2014 1:09 PM CST
nodding
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Sep 13, 2014 2:47 PM CST
greene said:Smilax = smile as you take an axe to it. Rolling on the floor laughing


Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Sep 13, 2014 3:25 PM CST
I wouldn't say it wasn't useful for anything, but it is a major nuisance and aggravation much of the time. The cattle do graze the tender new growth and will browze it when dry summer heat make lush grass scarce. Certainly the berries are wildlife food and a major means of its dispersal. It's also a safe haven cover for lots of animals - rabbits, fox, copperheads and rattlesnakes and less unpleasant snakes. I've seen birds nesting in it and taking active cover when a raptor flies over. But when it's growing where you don't want it, it's extremely hard to eradicate. I guess the argument could be made that it makes a nice living fence when it takes over a fence line while providing cover for wildlife, but it also makes a fence really hard to repair. Most of the time, I'd prefer a lot less than grows around here Smiling Smiling .
Donald

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