Herb: Supple Jack
Latin name: Ripogonum scandens
Family: Smilacaceae (Greenbrier Family)
Medicinal use of Supple Jack:Antirheumatic, skin, stomachic, vulnerary. The burnt stems and sap are used to cauterize wounds.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Lowland podocarp and broad-leaved forests on North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands.
Edible parts of Supple Jack:Root - cooked. It is rich in starch. The root is very fibrous and is used as a flavouring for beer. Fruit - raw or cooked. Dry and uninteresting. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter. Young shoots - cooked. They taste like fresh green beans. Sap. It is obtained by blowing it out of short cut sections of the stem.
Other uses of the herb:The stems are used in basket making and also to make rope ladders. The stems are strong enough to be used as they are to make a rope.
Propagation of Supple Jack:Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse. Sow stored seed in a warm greenhouse in the spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in the greenhouse. Plant out in early summer. Division.
Cultivation of the herb:Lowland podocarp and broad-leaved forests on North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands.
Known hazards of Ripogonum scandens:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.