Mystery vine

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Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17
Mystery vine

Guess I got into the wrong slot - not sure about "poll" with "new topic". This curious vine just emerged one day like the ugly duckling among the chicks. Having failed to send you a picture of it, I'll just describe it - a heart-shaped leaf about two and a half to three inches in length, mottled, sort of shiney and slightly convex. But the main thing about it is the small prickles on the stem as well as the leaf. No flowers yet but vigorous with many tendrils. So I'm waiting. Hope it is something nice. Fran

Frances Howey
London, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5b

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Do the leaves have toothed margins or are they smooth-edged?  Are all the leaves heart-shaped or do some differ?  Would it be possible to post a photo?  (It is actually very easy, if you have a digital camera and can take a photo.)  Any flowers to show?

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17

Hi Lori:  Yes I do have a digital camera and tried to post a pic (no flowers yet) but wasn't able to figure out how to do it.  Clicked on the picture ikon above this message but found all the options re color and sizing confusing.  The leaf edges are prickly as well as the stem and the leaf placement is alternate.  Only one of the vines growing in my yard (haven't checked Virginia Creeper) has opposite leaf placement.  Fran

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Howey wrote:

Hi Lori:  Yes I do have a digital camera and tried to post a pic (no flowers yet) but wasn't able to figure out how to do it.  Clicked on the picture ikon above this message but found all the options re color and sizing confusing. 

Hi Fran, I can help you figure out how to post images on the NARGS Forum.  First, click on the link below, and read the NARGS Forum tips that describe how to add photos, I just updated the directions with more information.
http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=12.msg21#msg21

In the interim, if you'd like, send me the photo at antennaria@charter.net, and I'll post it for you.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Here is Fran's mystery vine, tendrils and all!

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

The photo is very helpful - thanks, Frances and Mark!

Perhaps Smilax sp.?  Eastern folk, does it look like any of the native species that occur "out there"?  (We don't have Smilax here... my excuse for unfamiliarity with it!)
The wedge-shaped base, prickles and mottling should be useful towards an ID...

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Good call Lori, this could indeed be a Smilax.  We have Smilax species here, but it's been years since I have seen them first-hand, and memory of them fades.  Many can be terrible weeds, although there seems to be a Smilax following out there.  Googling this briefly, I do come up with some photos that show a similarly unusual leaf shape to Fran's mystery plant, here is one such example:

http://www.sbs.utexas.edu/bio406d/images/pics/smi/smilax_bona-nox.htm

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Yes, after googling around some more, I'm still thinking Smilax, and that one did catch my eye, too.  Leaf shape seems somewhat variable within species (assuming the photos are actually IDd correctly), as does presence/absence of mottling on the leaves.  The Smilax that are native to Ontario seem to lack prickles.

The closest, so far, does seem to be Smilax bona-nox:
hhttp://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SMBO2&photoID=smbo2_002_ahp.tif

The odd photo of Smilax aspera looks similar (cuneate leaf base, mottling) too.
http://www.nature-diary.co.uk/mallorca/liliaceae.htm

Any thoughts, anyone?

Frances, is this the first year you've noticed it?

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17

Actually, Lori, it was there last year but I hardly noticed it among the Epimedium - this is the first year it started to climb and needed a bit of aid with the twisting.  Interesting to note that it could be a native - although this one definitely has those prickles.  Also found that it is not poisonous, thank goodness, and has been used for sports medicine.  Looking forward to seeing the flowers and fruit - a keeper....so far.  Thanks, to you and Mark, for all the info plus the help with posting the pics.  Fran

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

If it was there last year, did you notice if it is evergreen?

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17

Not sure about that, Lori, but I believe it may have been.  I sort of ignored it the first year, thinking it was another Epimedium - will get back about that.  Fran

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