Catbrier (Family Smilacaceae)

 

Smilacaceae, the Greenbrier Family, is a family of flowering plants.

Up to some decades ago the genera now included in family Smilac-

aceae were often assigned to a more broadly defined family Liliaceae,

but for the past twenty to thirty years most botanists have accepted

Smilacaceae as a distinct family. Smilacaceae has been divided into

two genera - Heterosmilax and the larger Smilax (although more

recently Heterosmilax has been found to have arisen from within

the ranks for Smilax). Other classification approaches divide Smilac-

aceae into three genera - Heterosmilax, Pseudosmilax, and Smilax -

comprising approximately 370 species.

 

Widespread in tropical and subtropical regions of the Southern

Hemisphere, with a few extending into north temperate regions.

 

The roots of some species are used medicinally for the treatment of

rheumatism and from another species, the stimulant China root is

obtained.

 

 

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