Smilax anceps Willd.

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Smilax anceps

Photo: Bart Wursten
Ndundu Lodge, Vumba

Smilax anceps

Photo: Bart Wursten
Ndundu Lodge, Vumba

Smilax anceps

Photo: Bart Wursten
Tiger Kloof, Mutare

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Synonyms: Smilax kraussiana Meisn.
Common names: Garuru (Shona) Gwananguruve (Shona) Smilax (English) Wild sarsaparilla (English)
Frequency: Common in the Eastern Highlands, rare elsewhere
Status: Native
A vigorous scrambling vine. Stems up to 5 m long, tough, fibrous, armed with numerous hooked prickles and paired coiled tendrils at the base of the leaf petioles. Leaves alternate, ovate, elliptic to almost circular, 4-14 cm long, more or less thickly leathery, 2-3 pairs of veins along each side of the midrib and net-veining between these veins; margin entire; petiole 0.5-2.5 cm long, thickened, channeled above. Inflorescences many-flowered axillary globose umbels; peduncle up to 3 cm long with 2 ovate bracts near the middle, up to 5 mm long. Flowers unisexual in the same inflorescence; perianth segments 3-5 mm long, recurved, greenish-white, yellowish or brownish. Fruit a globose berry, 8-10 mm in diameter, purplish to black when ripe.
Notes: Together with brambles (Rubus spp.) it often renders areas near-impenetrable and unpopular with hikers. The records in SRGH from outside Division E comprise a single vaguely localised record in Division N and three records from Division S, namely Old Bikita, Mt Buhwe and the Beza Range.
Derivation of specific name: anceps: 2-edged or 2-headed
Habitat: It is a typical constituent of the transitional ecotone between forest and grassland, where it can cover other vegetation.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 2400 m
Flowering time:Aug - Jan
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in tropical Africa, Swaziland, South Africa, Madagascar, Comores, Mauritius, Seychelles and Reunion.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,E,S
Growth form(s): Climber, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Pseudoradiarctia scita (Larval food plant)
Heliophisma klugii (Larval foodplant)
Grammodes bifasciata (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Friday 10 March 2006

Bandeira, S., Bolnick, D. & Barbosa, F. (2007). Wild Flowers of Southern Mozambique Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique Pages 64 - 65. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 368. (Includes a picture).

Diniz, M.A. (2009). Smilacaceae Flora Zambesiaca 12(2) Pages 198 - 200. (Includes a picture).

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 232. As Smilax kraussiana

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 112.

Obermeyer, A.A. (1992). Smilacaceae Flora of Southern Africa 5(3) Page 85. (Includes a picture).

Pooley, E. (1998). A Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. Natal Flora Publications Trust. Durban. Pages 572 - 573. (Includes a picture).

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Pages 1 - 2. as Smilax kraussiana

White, F. (1962). Forest Flora of Northern Rhodesia Oxford Univ. Press. Page 15. as Smilax kraussiana

White, F., Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Chapman, J.D. (2001). Evergreen forest flora of Malawi Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Page 109. (Includes a picture).

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 86.

Other sources of information about Smilax anceps:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Smilax anceps
Flora of Mozambique: Smilax anceps
Flora of Zambia: Smilax anceps

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Smilax anceps
African Plant Database: Smilax anceps
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Smilax anceps
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Smilax anceps
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Smilax anceps
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Smilax anceps
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Smilax anceps
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Smilax anceps
iNaturalist: Smilax anceps
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Smilax anceps
JSTOR Plant Science: Smilax anceps
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Smilax anceps
Kew Monocotyledon checklist: Smilax anceps
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Smilax anceps
Plants of the World Online: Smilax anceps
The Plant List (version 1.1): Smilax anceps
Tropicos: Smilax anceps
Wikipedia: Smilax anceps

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-19

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2019). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Smilax anceps., retrieved 20 August 2019

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