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Smilax china L.

Smilax china L.

Family

Smilacaceae

Synonyms

None

Vernacular Names

Malaysia

Gadong china, gadong saberang, akar restong.

English

China root, Chinese sarsaparilla.

Indonesia

Gadung cina (General), peundang (Aceh), ghadhung tambha (Madurese).

Philippines

Sarsaparillang-china (Tagalog), buanal (Igorot), palipit (Bontok).

Vietnam

Kim chang trung qu[oos]e.

French

Racine de Chine, squine.

Geographical Distributions

Smilax china is distributed from Japan and southern China, through the Ryukyu Islands to Laos, Vietnam, northern Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) and the Philippines. Smilax china has long been cultivated in China and Japan as a medicinal plant. The rhizomes are imported into Indonesia and Malaysia.

Description

Smilax china is a climber, up to 5 m long with smooth or sparingly prickly stem and branches.

The leaves are ovate-orbicular, broadly elliptical to ovate-elliptical or narrowly elliptical and measure up to 12 cm long. The petiole is up to 1.5 cm long with the wings of petiolar sheaths rather weakly developed while the tendrils are up to 15 cm long. 

The fruit is 10-12 mm in diametre and red at maturity. The seeds are red-purple.   

Ecology / Cultivation

In tropical Asia, Smilax china occurs only in scrub vegetation and open forest in mountains above 1000 m altitude, but in more temperate regions, it also grows in the lowlands; in the Philippines, it is found in moss forests at 1600-2400 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph

Smilax_china

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References

1.       Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1.