Australian Native Plants

  Smilax australis (Lawyer Vine)


Smilax australis photo
Smilax australis (cultivated, unlabelled) Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Photograph by Melburnian. Some rights reserved.    (view image details)




LAWYER VINE FACTS

distribution map showing range of Smilax australis in Australia

Map is from The Atlas of Living Australia web site, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License


Common Name
Lawyer Vine

Other Names
Barbwire Vine, Austral Sarsaparilla, Sarsaparilla

Description
Lawyer vine is a climber with prickly stems that can grow up to eight metres long. The stems have long coiled tendrils that help it climb. The leaves are oval tapering towards the tip and up to 15cm long and 9cm wide. There are five bold veins running along the leaf from stem to tip. It produces clusters of creamy coloured flowers. The fruit are round berries to about 8mm in diameter and are green before ripening to black with one or two hard seeds inside. The fruit is eaten by birds which spread the seeds.

Height
stems to 8m

Habitat
found in rainforest, eucalypt forest, open woodland and heathland

Distribution
Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Northern Territory and northern Western Australia

Classification
Class:Liliopsida
Order:Liliales
Family:Smilacaceae
Genus:Smilax
Species:australis
Common Name:Lawyer Vine