|sarsaparilla plant Vine
Southern central United States
4 to 8
20.00 to 40.00 feet
3.00 to 6.00 feet
May to June
Full sun to part shade
Medium to wet
Naturalize, Rain Garden
|Easily grown in most soils. Best in moist loams in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wet soils. This species is weedy and difficult to manage because of its bristly stems, but it does not spread invasively by rooting stems, stolons or self-seeding.
It is a deciduous, twining, woody vine that grows to 20-40’. It will climb by tendrils or ramble along the ground, often forming dense, impenetrable, shrubby thickets in the wild. Plants are dioecious: greenish flowers appear in axillary clusters on separate male and female plants. Flowers bloom in May-June. Fertilized female flowers give way to blue-black, glaucous berries that ripen in late summer to fall. Fruits are attractive to many birds. Broad, ovate-rounded, green leaves (2-5” long) are sometimes heart-shaped. Paired stipular tendrils appear at the leaf stalk bases. Green stems are covered with weak, bristle-like prickles that turn distinctively black with age. Greenbrier thickets provide dense cover for small mammals and birds. Young leaves, shoots and tendrils are edible and make tasty additions to salads. Hispida means bristly in obvious reference to the stem bristles. Synonymous with and formerly known as S. tamnoides var. hispida. In the Joel Chandler Harris children’s story, the infamous “brier patch” which Brer Rabbit implored Brer Fox not to fling him into was presumably a tangled thicket of greenbrier.
No serious insect or disease problems.
Greenbrier is a weedy vine that is not considered to have sufficient ornamental value for growing on trellises, fences and pergolas or in other prominent locations around the home. It is effective in open woodland areas and native plant areas. May be trained as a hedge or incorporated into a hedgerow for property lines. Also effective when grown along the ground as a ground cover, providing good erosion control for slopes and banks.
|Information on this page is from Missouri Botanical Gardens,
Dave’s Garden, All things Plants, Texas Superstar or Aggie Horticulture
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