Thursday, June 27, 2013

Smilax laurifolia

Of the several plants of Smilax laurifolia growing here, one has outpaced the others in size. This plant has been blooming for several years, and this year for the first time it's likely that the seed will mature successfully. These seeds are from flowers produced last year: the seed takes about a year to ripen. The related Smilax smallii sets seed here occasionally, but so far the developing seed has always perished during the winter.  The same has been true of Smilax pumila in the open.

It's been over twenty years since these plants of Smilax laurifolia were raised from wild collected seed. This is obviously not a get-rich-quick plant for the nursery trade, and in fact commercial sources are hard to find. And if you find one, you will probably be buying a collected plant.

This year the most vigorous plant put up three new sprouts, the biggest thicker than fat grocery-store asparagus. The longest of these new sprouts is now about ten feet long, and that will fall far short of its eventual length.

I have no idea how to explain it, but these plants give me a sense of satisfaction which is almost unique in my gardening experience. 


Faith said...

I would love to grow these as well. Would you be willing to mail a few seeds from your plants? I am inMmaryland, as well.

McWort said...

Faith, your best bet would be to order a plant from Woodlanders.
This species, although it blooms freely here, does not mature seeds - the developing seeds are killed by winter cold.

McWort said...

Oops! What am I saying? I thought you were asking about Smilax smallii.
Of course I can give you seed of Smilax laufifolia, but be prepared for a long, long wait for results when you plant them. The seeds will probably take a year to show growth above ground, and then the tiny seedlings are very slow growing. My plants are now about twenty-five years old from seed!