smilax

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smilax,

common name for a florists' plant of two separate genera (Asparagus and Smilax), both of the family Liliaceae (lilylily,
common name for the Liliaceae, a plant family numbering several thousand species of as many as 300 genera, widely distributed over the earth and particularly abundant in warm temperate and tropical regions.
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 family, although some botanists recognize smilax as a separate family, the Similacaceae). The greenbriers, prickly vines often weedy in North America, belong to the same genus (Smilax) as the plants yielding sarsaparilla. Both genera are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.

Smilax

 

a genus of plants of the family Liliaceae. (The genus is placed by some botanists in a separate family, the Smilax-aeae.) The plants are shrubs or, less frequently, herbs with twining or creeping stems and reticulately veined leaves with tendrils at their bases. The small, unisexual flowers are in umbellate axillary inflorescences. The fruits are one- to three-seeded berries.

There are more than 300 species, distributed in the Mediterranean region (including the Caucasus) and in tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions of Asia and North America. The USSR has two species: S. oldhamii, which grows in the Pri-mor’e, and S. excelsa, which grows in the Caucasus and is cultivated in the Crimea as an ornamental. The roots of some species, such as S. officinalis and S. china, contain saponins and are used in medicine.

REFERENCE

Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.