vine does not grow from last year's stock - it pretty much dies back in
the spring, and just when you think it will not return, it begins
growing - several inches a day!
The fencing behind the fine is eight feet tall.
(Deer are a serious problem for gardeners here.)
tied it to a stake with clothesline.
From the central stalk (there are two this year) it sends out "branches" that develop a large flower ball at the end.
|The flower ball appeals to ants, but the bees and butterflies do not seem particularly interested.|
leaves are not directly opposite each other. Each leaf is
attached to the central stem.
There are tendrils that grab. There are no thorns or spikes.
flowers will become a fruit.
This will become a round ball of small purple/black fruits, each bigger than a BB, but smaller than a marble.
fruits must not be particularly tasty, since they stay on the vine for
much of the winter.
Woodchucks and deer do not bother the vine.
|The mystery has been solved.
It is Smilax herbacea, often called carrion flower, because it really stinks when blooming.
The fruit are supposed to be edible and make a fine(?) jelly.
I think the common name of Jacob's ladder is much better than the other common name of carrion flower. I can't imagine offering a taste of carrion flower jelly!
|There are two stalks here, but neither seem to be the male flower.
Boy it sure looks like the female flower
This drawing is quite like the plant:
It matches the distribution map: