Smilax bona-nox


Sp. Pl. 2: 1030. 1753.

Common names: Zarzaparrilla
Synonyms: Smilax bona-nox var. exauriculata Fernald Smilax bona-nox var. hastata (Willdenow) A. de Candolle Smilax bona-nox var. hederifolia (Beyrich ex Kunth) Fernald Smilax bona-nox var. littoralis Coker Smilax hastata Smilax hederifolia Smilax renifolia Smilax variegata
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 471. Mentioned on page 470, 472, 477.

Vines; rhizomes tuberous, woody, or stoloniferous. Stems perennial, climbing, often zigzag distally, branched, terete to 4-angled, stout, to 5+ m × 5 mm, woody, glabrous or infrequently with stellate trichomes; prickles often absent distally, tips black, flattened, broad- based, stout, 4–9 mm, rigid. Leaves evergreen, ± evenly dispersed; petiole 0.7–1.5 cm; blade pale green, often with white blotches, drying to uniform tan, thickish, broadly ovate to lanceolate-ovate or hastate to pandurate, with 3(–5) ± prominent veins, 3–10 × 2.5–9 cm, not glaucous, glabrous or minutely pubescent abaxially, base cordate to truncate, frequently lobed; margins entire to remotely spinose-ciliate, thickened by ribbed, cartilaginous band, often revolute and appearing as prominent vein parallel to margins, apex rounded to short-apiculate. Umbels few to numerous, axillary to leaves, 10–15+-flowered, moderately dense; peduncle 1.5–6+ cm. Flowers: perianth pale green; tepals 3–4.5 mm; anthers shorter than to ± equaling filaments; ovule 1 per locule; pedicel 0.8–1.2 cm. Berries black, ovoid to spherical, 6–8 mm, shiny to dull, sometimes glaucous. 2n = 32.

Phenology: Flowering Apr–May.
Habitat: Well-drained to wet areas in woods, fields, thickets, hedgerows, floodplain forests, etc., full to partial sun
Elevation: 0–1000 m


V26 982-distribution-map.jpg

Ala., Ark., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kans., Ky., La., Md., Miss., Mo., N.C., Ohio, Okla., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., Mexico, West Indies.


Numerous varieties, based mainly on differences in leaf shape, have been proposed for Smilax bona-nox. Variation is so great even in individual plants that recognition of these varieties is untenable. J. A. Steyermark (1963) suggested that leaf variation may be correlated with stages of plant maturity. The species often may be considered weedy, occurring in very dense, tangled masses.

Selected References


Lower Taxa

... more about "Smilax bona-nox"
Walter C. Holmes +
Linnaeus +
Zarzaparrilla +
Ala. +, Ark. +, Del. +, D.C. +, Fla. +, Ga. +, Ill. +, Ind. +, Kans. +, Ky. +, La. +, Md. +, Miss. +, Mo. +, N.C. +, Ohio +, Okla. +, S.C. +, Tenn. +, Tex. +, Va. +, Mexico +  and West Indies. +
0–1000 m +
Well-drained to wet areas in woods, fields, thickets, hedgerows, floodplain forests, etc., full to partial sun +
Flowering Apr–May. +
W1 +  and Illustrated +
Smilax bona-nox var. exauriculata +, Smilax bona-nox var. hastata +, Smilax bona-nox var. hederifolia +, Smilax bona-nox var. littoralis +, Smilax hastata +, Smilax hederifolia +, Smilax renifolia +  and Smilax variegata +
Smilax bona-nox +
species +