Smilax aspera

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Smilax aspera
Smilax aspera.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Smilacaceae
Genus: Smilax
S. aspera
Binomial name
Smilax aspera

Smilax aspera, with common names common smilax,[2] rough bindweed,[3] sarsaparille,[4] and Mediterranean smilax, is a species of flowering vine in the greenbriar family.


Smilax aspera is a perennial, evergreen climber with a flexible and delicate stem, with sharp thorns. The climbing stem is 1–4 metres (3 ft 3 in–13 ft 1 in) long.[5] The leaves are 8–10 centimetres (3.1–3.9 in) long,[5] petiolated, alternate, tough and leathery, heart-shaped, with toothed and spiny margins. It is the monocot with reticulate type of venation. Also the midrib of the underside of the leaves are provided with spines. The flowers, very fragrant, are small, yellowish or greenish, gathered in axillary racemes. The flowering period in Mediterranean regions extends from September to November. The fruits are globose berries, gathered in clusters, which ripen in Autumn. They are initially red, later turn black. They have a diameter of 8–10 millimetres (0.31–0.39 in)[5] and contain one to three tiny and round seeds. They're insipid are unpalatable to humans, and are a source of nourishment for many species of birds.


It is widespread in Central Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia), Mediterranean Europe (Albania, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Malta, France, Portugal, Spain), temperate Asia (Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey) and tropical Asia (India, Bhutan, Nepal). It is also naturalized in other regions.[6]


It grows in the woods and scrubs, at an altitude of 0–1,200 metres (0–3,937 ft) above sea level.[5]



  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  2. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ "Smilax aspera". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  4. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, salsapariglia, sarsaparille, rough bindweed, Smilax aspera includes photos and European distribution map
  5. ^ a b c d Pignatti S. - Flora d'Italia – Edagricole – 1982. Vol. III, pag. 401
  6. ^ "Smilax aspera". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 6 August 2014.

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