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The Vine That Grabs You

My first encounter with this thorny vine was as a 10-year old boy traipsing through the woodlands on Long Island in New York. It formed impenetrable thickets in the wetlands near the house I grew up in. Its sharp thorns caught my clothing and it did not easily let go. I eventually broke free, full of scratches, swearing never to stumble across it again.

There are many species in this family. The stems on common greenbrier are crayon green with numerous thorns. Its leaves are round shaped and it produces  pale green flowers in the spring and early summer. Its tendrils enable the vine to climb onto shrubs and trees.

This greenbrier’s berries are purplish-black and this fruit persists into the winter when birds and wildlife will eat it. Its leaves also persist into the winter until deer carefully pull off the leaves for nourishment.

Its thorns are a way the plant protects itself from being dined on so it can be a nasty plant when encountered. It sure kept me away from it when I played in the woods!

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