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Smilax aristolochiifolia - Mill.

Common Name Mexican Sarsaparilla
Family Smilacaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known
Range Central America - Belize, Guatemala, Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Smilax aristolochiifolia Mexican Sarsaparilla


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Smilax aristolochiifolia Mexican Sarsaparilla
http://www.edibleplants.org

 

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Summary

Mexican Sarsaparilla, Smilax aristolochiifolia, is a perennial climbing plant native to Mexico and Central America. It is also known as gray sarsaparilla or sarsaparilla. Its leaves are ovate, paper-like, leathery, and alternate. The fruits are small red berries with 2 or 3 seeds. The flowers are small and green, readily symmetrical, and dioecious. S. aristolochiifolia is medicinally used against inflammation, itching, digestive problems, fevers, kidney disorders, gonorrhea, scrofulous, skin diseases, and rheumatism. Root extracts are used as flavoring in beverages, ice cream, confectioneries, and bakery products.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Smilax aristolochiifolia is an evergreen Perennial Climber growing to 5 m (16ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Smilax kerberi F.W.Apt Smilax medica Schltdl. & Cham.

Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses:

Root extracts are used to flavour soft drinks ice cream, confectionery and bakery products[238 , 301 ]. A bitter, liquorice-like root[301 ].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


Mexican sarsaparilla (the roots and rhizome) is a sweet, acrid, alterative herb that reduces inflammation, controls itching, improves digestion and elimination and is antiseptic[238 ]. This is one of three species (the others are S. Febrifuga and S. Regelii) that gained a high reputation in the 17th century as cure-alls[238 ]. They were widely imported into Europe until early in the 20th century, by which time their rather overrated reputation had waned somewhat. However, the plants do have a number of important medicinal benefits - in particular, their roots contain steroidal saponins which are an effective treatment for many cases of psoriasis; they also have hormonal effects, and may improve fertility in women with ovarian dysfunction[238 ]. The rhizomes are alterative, digestive, febrifuge[46 , 238 ]. A decoction is used in the treatment of fevers, digestive disorders, kidney troubles and gonorrhoea[46 ]. It is also used against scrophulus, skin diseases and rheumatism[46 ].

References

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An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More

FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Other Uses: None known

Special Uses

References

Cultivation details

Not known

References

Temperature Converter

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

american sarsaparilla, gray sarsaparilla, mexican sarsaparilla, mexiko-sarsaparille, salsapariglia smilace, salsaparrilha, salsaparrilha de minas de gerais, salsaparrilha do mexico, salsaparrilha do para, salsepareille, salsepareille du mexique, sarsaparilla, sarsaparilla radix, ushba, ushba maghrabi, vera cruz sarsaparilla, veracruz sarsaparilla, wild liquorice, zarzaparilla.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Smilax asperaSarsaparilla, Rough bindweedClimber3.0 8-11  LMHSNM33 
Smilax auriculataEarleaf GreenbrierClimber7.0 -  LMHSNM22 
Smilax bona-noxGreenbriar, Saw greenbrier, Dunes saw greenbrierClimber6.0 0-0  LMHSNM32 
Smilax chinaChina RootClimber4.5 5-9  LMHSNM43 
Smilax cordifolia Perennial0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Smilax discotis Climber7.0 7-10  LMHSNM10 
Smilax febrifugaEcuadorian SarsaparillaClimber12.0 10-12 FLMHSNM340
Smilax glabratufulingClimber3.0 -  LMHSNM23 
Smilax glaucaCat GreenbrierClimber5.0 4-8  LMHSNDM22 
Smilax glyciphyllaSarsparillaClimber0.0 -  LMHSNM11 
Smilax herbaceaCarrion Flower, Smooth carrionflowerPerennial Climber2.5 4-8  LMHSNM412
Smilax hispidaHag BriarClimber15.0 4-8  LMHSNM22 
Smilax lanceifolia Climber2.0 -  LMHSNM21 
Smilax laurifoliaLaurel GreenbrierClimber6.0 7-10  LMHSNM320
Smilax nipponica Perennial Climber2.0 -  LMHSNM32 
Smilax officinalisHonduran sarsaparillaPerennial Climber25.0 10-12 FLMHSNM242
Smilax pseudochinaFalse China RootClimber2.0 -  LMHSNMWe32 
Smilax riparia Perennial Climber0.0 -  LMHSNM20 
Smilax rotundifoliaHorse Brier, Roundleaf greenbrier, BramblesClimber12.0 4-9 FLMHSNM320
Smilax sieboldii Climber2.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Smilax tamnoidesBristly GreenbrierClimber0.0 -  LMHSNM22 
Smilax trinervula Perennial1.0 -  LMHSNM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Mill.

Botanical References

Links / References

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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Subject : Smilax aristolochiifolia  
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