There are many species of Greenbrier aka Smilax and can be difficult to identify, as they resemble one another closely. Smilax species are important because they can provide shelter and food for wildlife and have provided humans with medicine, food, and dyes. Twelve Smilax species are found in Florida. The flowers are small, fragrant and appear any time of year. The new growth is edible and tastes similar to asparagus. Seminole Indians used the root to make a reddish meal that was mixed with corn flour to make pancakes. The root was also used to make root beer by mixing the pulp with parched corn and molasses. Medically, the root powder has been used to treat gout.
Information Provided by the Friends of Barefoot Beach Preserve
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