Smilax australis

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Smilax australisFamily: Smilacaceae
Genus: Smilax
Common names: Barbwire vine, Austral Sarsaparilla
ALA reference

This is a stout climber with coarse thick leaves and a pair of tendrils at each leaf base. The stems are covered in short hard spines hence the common name barbed-wire vine. The plants are dioecious with male and female flowers on separate plants. Although I could find half a dozen plants with male flowers I was unable to locate a plant in the Reserve with female flowers even though small seedlings are common. Interestingly all the photos I found of this species on the internet are of male flowers. However I did see a plant with female flowers at Kedron Brook. The new growths which are appearing are a rich bronze colour. (August 2008)

Barbwire vine or Wait-a-while is a robust climber with very tough hard stems which may grow to 8 metres in length and 10mm in diameter. The stems are covered in small sharp backward pointing thorns. The leaves are stiff, tough and leathery and have a pair of tendrils at their base. The new growth can be bright red. These plants are dioecious and usually flower in spring and early summer. (January 2007)