Vine ID

birdbah_njJune 8, 2005

Hi all,

I posted this to the vine forum, but I'm cross posting it here. Maybe an NJ gardener has seen this vine before.

I hope someone can please identify this vine/weed (?) for me. It has been growing into my yard from the neighbors property for a while now.

This is what I can tell you about it -

1. I did not plant it. I don't think the neighbor did either. It's probably wild.

2. It is located in northeastern NJ.

3. It uses tendrils to climb.

4. It grows very quickly!

5. It has some sort of flimsy, almost leafy thorns.

6. It is very ropey feeling, and even though the thorns are flimsy -- if you try to pull it out, they seem to bite you harder, the firmer you grasp the vine. Yes, IÂm using gloves now!!

After an extremely hard pull it usually will snap and break, leaving some of the vine still coming out of the ground, only to grow 4 ft up the fence and another 2 feet in what seems like a week!

7. I've handled it multiple times, and I don't have any poison ivy like reaction. As long as you donÂt squeeze it, you wonÂt get any thorn bites.

8. I don't know if it flowers, since I've never let it grow past 6 or 7 ft before removing it from the fence, laying it flat, and spraying it with vine killer (since pulling is futile).

Thanks everyone.


Here is a link that might be useful: Vine ID

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wardw(z6 NJ)

Could it be mile-a-minute vine? That's sort of thorny and grows really fast. You might try pinging that name and see what comes up. If that is what it is, get rid of it as quickly as possible, and do not let it flower and seed. It is one of the worst invaders in the past 20 years, and spreads fast.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 11:31AM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

What about Round-up? Or you could try digging at its base to excavate the roots, since it seems to have some energy stored down there. Sometimes if you keep pulling it, it will run out of energy and give up.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 12:00PM
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wardw: I looked at some images of mile.a.minute, I don't think it is..
if you notice the leaves are more oval/rounded on this vine..
the mile-a-minute seems to have a triangular look to the leaf.
Unless it changes as it gets older, I dunno, I try to get it every week or two.

ladychroe: I use a vine killer that says it does blackberry, kudzu, and poison ivy.. it seems to kill it,
but I don't think its one main plant...each single vine is its own entity.. i kill one, and before
I blink, another one is trying to climb 2-3 ft up the fence! 20 ft away..
It's just too hard to dig where its growing, there is a retaining wall right behind it..and no room to move,
I reach/lean over the fence to grab the vinelings/spray, and to take those pics..

these guys return every year, and I haven't seen it bloom.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 12:34PM
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I think it may be a type of Smilax sp. the common name is greenbriar.

Elaine :)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 7:20PM
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Donna534(z6 NJ)

Looks like japanese honeysuckle to me.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 9:02AM
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Thanks for posting the ID. Nigella from the Vines Forum beat you to it by 2 hours though, I'm pretty sure it's some form of Smilax, possibly "Smilax rotundifolia" not honeysuckle, thanks Donna..

This Smilax is a thicket forming growth native to forest, woods, and wetlands, not native to my backyard, so I rename it to Frownlax upon discovery.

thanks everyone.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 10:12AM
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I have gotten rid of this horrible weed, I think. I dug down about 12", and dug out the tuber. Some were the size of a potatoe. Most I had to dig twice to finally eradicate them, meaing I haven't seen any in 2 years. If they are coming from your neighbor, I would say you have an never-going-to-win battle, unless you can get permission to remove it from your neighbor's yard. Some people have had luck with placing a cut vine into undiluted roundup, and leaving for a period of time. The idea is to have the vine suck up the poison directly into the roots. I haven't had to resort to that, so I don't know all the particulars.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 4:10PM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

This is a case where a picture would have been worth a thousand words. We rather blessed with a few smilax species in New Jersey, and I must admit I like "sticker vine" as we used to call it. Birds eat the berries and it comes up where ever they perch.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 4:14PM
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