Herb latin name: Smilax nipponica

Family: Smilacaceae (Greenbrier Family)

Medicinal use of Smilax nipponica:

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

Description of the plant:

Perennial Climber

2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Meadows and thickets in mountains, C. and S. Japan.

Edible parts of Smilax nipponica:

Leaves and young shoots - raw or cooked and used like asparagus. Fruit - raw or cooked and used in jellies etc. Used when fully ripe. Root - cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and then used with cereals for making bread etc. It can also be used as a gelatine substitute.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow March in a warm greenhouse. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Cultivation of Smilax nipponica:

Meadows and thickets in mountains, C. and S. Japan.

Known hazards of Smilax nipponica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.