|Photo by John Gwaltney hosted at Southeastern Flora.com|
|Division:||Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants|
|Class:||Liliopsida - Moncots|
| Smilax rotundifolia|
|Natural range of Smilax rotundifolia from USDA NRCS .|
Synonym: S. rotundifolia var. quadrangularis (Muhlenberg ex Willdenow) Wood
S. rotundifolia is a monoecious perennial that grows as a shrub or vine.
The distribution of S. rotundifolia ranges from eastern Texas, westward to northern Florida, and northward into the provinces of Nova Scotia and Ontario Canada.
S. rotundifolia is found in a variety of upland and wetland habitats.
In the southeastern and mid-Atlantic United States, S. rotundifolia flowers from April through May with fruiting occurring in September through November and persisting beyond.
Controlled burns conducted during the spring of 2001 and 2004 in an Ohio mixed-oak hardwood forest had the fire spread at mean rates of 6.2-11.3 m min-1 (as cited in ). These burns significantly reduced the mean percent cover of S. rotundifolia from 10.9% in 2001 and 8.1% in 2004 to 0.7 and 1.1%, respectively. The combination of burn and winter thinning yielded similar results producing mean coverage of 0.7 and 1.9% for 2001 and 2004, respectively. Burns also increase the level of crude protein in S. rotundifolia, which may alter browsing pressure. In the white pine and white pine-hardwood forests of New Hampshire, low intensity spring and fall fires top kill S. rotundifolia. Following these burns, S. rotundifolia vigorously reappears through vegetative reproduction.
The pollen of S. rotundifolia is linked via viscin threads that prevent it from being wind dispersed; instead, it relies on insects for pollination.
Use by animals
Smilax rotundifolia comprises 5-10% of the diet of several large mammals, small mammals, and terrestrial birds. Leave and twigs of S. rotundifolia are known to have been consumed by the Florida marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris paludicola).
Conservation and Management
Winter thinning in an Ohio mixed-oak hardwood forest reduced the mean percent coverage of S. rotundifolia from 10.9% to 3.1%. This reduced value was still higher than the reduction of cover produced by burning, suggesting burning to be more effective in reducing the coverage of S. rotundifolia.
Cultivation and restoration
References and notes
- Weakley AS (2015) Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Herbarium.
- USDA NRCS (2016) The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 23 January 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
- Albrecht MA, McCarthy BC (2006) Effects of prescribed fire and thinning on tree recruitment patterns in central hardwood forests. Forest Ecology and Management 226:88-103.
- DeWitt JB, Derby, JV Jr. (1955) Changes in nutritive value of browse plants following forest fires. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 19(1)65-70.
- Chapman RR, Crow GE (1981) Application of Raunkiaer's life form system to plant species survival after fire. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 108(4):472-478.
- Kevan PG, Ambrose JD, Kemp JR (1991) Pollination in an understory vine, Smilax rotundifolia, a threatened plant of the Carolinian forests in Canada. Canadian Journal of Botany 69:2555-2559.
- Miller JH, Miller KV (1999) Forest plants of the southeast and their wildlife uses. Southern Weed Science Society.
- Blair WF (1936) The Florida marsh rabbit. Journal of Mammalogy 17(3):197-207.