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Edible Use


Common Greenbrier
Family: Smilacaceae
Smilax rotundifolia

Description: This vine has lots of strong thorns, broad and heart-shaped leaves, and tendrils that sprout from the leaf axils. This vine has small, green flowers in the spring, and a blue-black berry from late summer into the spring.

Leaves: This vine has simple leaves that are heart-shaped, and they are from 5-12 cm (2-5 inches). The leaf has parallel veins.

Habitat: Common Greenbrier grows in thickets and woods.

Location: This vine grows all along the Charles River, dispersed in the woods, and also in the woods along the dammed lake behind the office buildings on the same street as South Street Market and Cappy's Restaurant.

Use: Greenbriers (and Catbriers) are good as asparagus, in salad, and cooked by using the young shoots, leaves, and tendrils. If the rootstocks of these vines are crushed and washed, the red powder can be boiled in water to make a "mild jelly," according to the Peterson's guide. This powder can also be mixed half and half with wheat flour to create a "thickening agent," or can be diluted in a liquid (water) to make a cold drink.