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Botanical Name : Smilax lanceolata
Family : Smilacaceae
Gender : Smilax
Species : S. laurifolia
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Liliopsida
Order : Liliales
*Parillax laurifolia (L.) Raf.
*Smilax alba Pursh
*Smilax hastata var. lanceolata (L.) Pursh
*Smilax lanceolata L.
*Smilax laurifolia var. bupleurifolia A.DC.
*Smilax reticulata Std.
Common Name :Red China Root
Habitat : Smilax lanceolata is native to South-eastern N. America – New Jersey to Florida and Texas.It grows on swamps and low ground. Moist woods and thickets. Bays, bogs, pocosins, swamp margins, marshy banks.
Smilax laurifolia is an evergreen Climber growing to 6 m (19ft 8in). It is a vine that forms extensive colonies woody, with rhizomes irregularly branched, tuberous. Stems perennial cylindrical reaching 5 + m in length and 15 mm in diameter, dark spines, flat 12 mm rigid. The leaves are evergreen, ± evenly arranged, with petiole 0.5-1.5 cm, green undersides, dried light brown to brownish green, oblong-elliptic, lance-elliptic, or sometimes linear or broadly ovate , leathery. The inflorescence in umbels numerous, axillary to leaves, branches usually short, 5-12 (-25) flowers. The perianth yellow, cream or white, petals 4-5 mm. The fruits as berries ovoid, 5-8 mm, shiny black, glaucous. The stems of Smilax laurifolia are brutally armed with thorns.
It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Succeeds in most soils in sun or semi-shade. This species is not very hardy in Britain. It succeeds outdoors in S.W. England, but even there it is best when grown against a wall. The fruit takes two growing seasons to ripen. The stems have viscious thorns. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required
Seed – sow March in a warm greenhouse. This note probably refers to the tropical members of the genus, seeds of plants from cooler areas seem to require a period of cold stratification, some species taking 2 or more years to germinate. We sow the seed of temperate species in a cold frame as soon as we receive it, and would sow the seed as soon as it is ripe if we could obtain it then. When the seedlings eventually germinate, prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first year, though we normally grow them on in pots for 2 years. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in early spring as new growth begins. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer. Cuttings of half-ripe shoots, July in a frame
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root.
Root – cooked. Rich in starch , it can be dried and ground into a powder to be used as a flavouring in soups etc or for making bread. The root can be up to 15cm thick. Young shoots – cooked. Used as an asparagus substitute.
Astringent; Birthing aid; Poultice; Rubefacient; Tonic.
The stem prickles have been rubbed on the skin as a counter-irritant to relieve localised pains, muscle cramps and twitching. A tea made from the leaves and stems has been used in the treatment of rheumatism and stomach problems. The wilted leaves are applied as a poultice to boils. A tea made from the roots is used to help the expelling of afterbirth. Reports that the roots contain the hormone testosterone have not been confirmed, they might contain steroid precursors, however . The root bark is astringent and slightly tonic. An infusion of the root bark has been used as a wash in treating burns, sores and pox.
Chop and boil a small handful of roots in 3 cups of water to use as a pleasant tasting blood tonic and for fatigue, anemia, acidity, toxicity, rheumatism, and skin conditions. Drink with milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg to strengthen and proliferate red blood cells.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider