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12 November

Smilax aspera
Smilax aspera - a wonderful, very exotic looking climber with vicious stems to help support itself as it climbs or scrambles away. It has glossy, heart shaped, narrow leaves with white blotchings that makes it look like it comes from tropical climates. This plant is evergreen and I find that it remains looking good all through winter. Be careful in handling the plants when training and tidying it up as the spines are sharp and recurved and could easily cause deep scratches with every false move. Keep an eye on where it clings on too as well, and prize unwanted growth off carefully to avoid shredding neighbouring plants. If you're used to maintaining ornamental (and not so ornamental) brambles (Rubus) you should be well prepared in taking care of this one.