Elegant Smilax
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Elegant Smilax
ative Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Elegant Smilax
Botanical name: Smilax elegans subsp. elegans    Family: Smilacaceae (Smilax family)
Synonyms: Smilax glaucophylla, Smilax parvifolia [Illeg.]

Elegant Smilax is a perennial climber with branches round, sometimes ribbed, not spiny. Leaves are 0.8-3.5 x 1.5-4.2 cm, ovate to ovate-lanceshaped, base rounded or heart-shaped, tip pointed and mucronate. Leaves are prominently 3(-5-7)-nerved. Leaf-stalk is 5-10 mm long, lower half sheathing, a pair of tendrils arising from the upper end of the sheath. Flowers are borne in umbels in leaf axils. Female plants are fewer flowered. Flowers are small, purple. Stalks of the umbels are 1-2 cm long, slender. Flower-stalks are about 6 mm long, threadlike. Bracteoles are small, ovate, long-pointed. Tepals are about 2 mm long, linear-oblong, pointed, the inner 3 slightly narrower. Male flower have filaments much shorter than the tepals, anthers less than 1 mm long. Female flower have 6 staminodes; ovary ovoid, a little less than 2 mm long. Berries are globose, 4 mm in diameter, blue-black. Elegant Smilax is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Tibet and W. China, at altitudes of 1800-3100 m. Flowering: April-May.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal Photographed in Sirmaur Distt, Himachal Pradesh.

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