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Smilax bona-nox L.
Sawbriar, Saw Greenbriar, Catbriar, Bullbriar, Stretchberry Vine
Smilacaceae (Catbrier Family)
Synonym(s): Smilax bona-nox var. exauriculata, Smilax bona-nox var. hastata, Smilax bona-nox var. hederifolia
USDA Symbol: SMBO2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
A prickly vine forming dense tangles in shrubby and wooded areas. Stems smooth, green, with stout, sharp prickles on the lower sections. Leaves with tendril-bearing petioles; blades up to 4 1/2 inches long and 4 inches wide, varying from triangular to heart shaped, often with a broad lobe on each side, firm textured and occasionally mottled on the upper surface, persisting into winter. Flowers small, rather inconspicuous, in clusters arising from the axils of the leaves, male and female on different plants, appearing from March to June. Fruit spherical, l/4 inch in diameter, fleshy, black.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen , Semi-evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Dioecious
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Can grow into the tops of trees.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
BenefitUse Wildlife: The fruits of saw greenbrier are eaten by wood ducks, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, fish crows, black bears, opossums, raccoons, squirrels, and many species of songbirds. White-tailed deer browse the foliage. Provides cover for small animals and birds.
Use Other: The seeds are animal dispersed and can be carried long distances by birds.
Deer Resistant: No
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Removal of bramble under live oaks and replacing with groundcover
September 26, 2007
We have several large live oaks on the front of our 12 acre property in Hockley, Texas. Under and around each oak is an extensive amount of bramble which we would like to remove so that we can enjoy ...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge - Wimberley, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-65 Collected 2006-06-21 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Smilax bona-nox in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Smilax bona-nox in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Smilax bona-nox
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-01-13
Research By: TWC Staff