Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - June 15, 2007

From: Friendswood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Control of Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier)
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We have some property near Round Mountain, Texas. Under and in the oak trees is a vine that has a heart-shaped, shiny leaf and nasty thorns. I'd like to know the name and how best to try to get rid of it in human-populated areas. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Not all native plants are welcome in the garden all of the time. This is one that causes many people a lot of consternation. Your vine is likely a Cat-brier, probably Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier). While its new growth is delicious as a steamed vegetable, most people overlook Cat-brier's culinary advantages because of its other, less noble characteristics - the ones with which you are already familiar.

Smilax makes a thick, hardened root in which it stores water and nutrients. Hand pulling Cat-brier usually only breaks off the top-growth which the root quickly replaces. Dig and destroy these root storage organs and you will destroy the plant. This is never easy and is often impracticle or impossible. Cutting new growth a few inches above the soil and painting the remaining stub with an herbicide labeled for that purpose is the most common control method.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Dfferences between Argemone arizonica and other Argemones
October 27, 2005 - I am trying to find information about the differences between the Argemone arizonica which grows only in the Grand Canyon and the other Argemones which grow in the rest of the U.S. Do you have any...
view the full question and answer

Two-leafed trilliums
June 17, 2012 - Turns out our 2 leafed plant IS a trillium..I saw that another person from our town also asked about trilliums..we are happy to have them, but it is confusing when the third upper leaf is absent or ve...
view the full question and answer

Fungi in the flower bed
October 01, 2007 - Found a strange thing in my flower bed, while tilling. It was egg shape, white, with a little purple, soft but tough like leather on the outside, with a small 2 inch root. Curiosity got me so I cut it...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Rigin TX
August 18, 2010 - I have noticed a low growing plant with slick geranium shaped leaves. Today (August 17) I found a tiny- about half inch five sided pod on it. Each side is shaped like a heart! Have not noticed any f...
view the full question and answer

Need to identify a strange plant in my flowerbed
March 05, 2010 - I have a strange plant that I've called a weed in my flowerbed. It doesn't have many leaves but it has round white almost bulbs at the surface of the dirt. The "bulbs" look almost like a small oni...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.