​By Steve Pulliam

Smilax Vine

With over 300 known species, Smilax is most often nothing to smile about. It is considered an invasive vine that has caused many a painful sore from its storehouse of meddlesome thorns.

Known by many names, catbrier, greenbrier, and bramble brier - to name a few - smilax is a woody vine that grows up to 50 feet long and spreads itself over fences, around trees and shrubs, and just about anything else, using its tendrils.

Strangely, there is a species which is virtually thornless that has been used for holiday decorating for generations. Commonly called "Christmas smilax," its thick, dark evergreen leaves make an attractive adornment when draped across the mantle, around a doorway or woven into a wreath.

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