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(Smilax nipponica)

Perennial Climber
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Smilax nipponica

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The roots are antispasmodic and carminative. They stimulate the circulation[147]. A decoction is used in the treatment of amenorrhoea, arthritis, backache etc[147, 218].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves and young shoots – raw or cooked and used like asparagus[105, 174, 177].

    Fruit – raw or cooked and used in jellies etc[61]. Used when fully ripe[61].

    Root – cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and then used with cereals for making bread etc[621]. It can also be used as a gelatine substitute[61].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow March in a warm greenhouse[1]. 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[K]. 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[K]. 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[238]. 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[238].
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of the country. It is quite likely that this is the species referred to as S. herbacea nipponica in [61]. The edible uses listed below include those uses listed in [61] as applying to S. herbacea nipponica. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in most soils in sun or semi-shade[200]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
E. Asia – Japan, Korea.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.