Smilax aspera is an evergreen Climber growing to 3 m. It is hardy to zone 7. Flowers from August to September. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Grows well in acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
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.
A very ornamental plant, it is only hardy in the mildest areas of Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -10C. The flowers have a heavy sweet perfume. The root is alterative, demulcent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant and tonic.
This is one of the best depurative medicines and is used as a springtime tonic and general body cleanser, usually with woody nightshade Solanum dulcamara.
Genus - Smilax
Species - Aspera
Common name - Mediterranean smilax
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Hardiness zones - 7 - 12
Height - 3 m
Plant type - Ornamental Climber
Vegetation type - Evergreen
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acid, neutral, alkaline
Soil type - light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay)
Water requirements - Average, high
Landscape uses - Culinary, Woodland Garden Sunny Edge, Dappled Shade, Hedge
Bloom season - August - September
Leaf / Flower color - Green / White
Sow seeds from March in a warm greenhouse or inside.
Sow in the clean soil in depth of teh size of teh seed. Keep moist and in warmer position.
Germination can be long, but 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.