The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Insects, weather, fish, climate, birds and/or flowers. All are worthy additions to the bucket. Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located.Anyone who ventures into the woods of the eastern US is likely to be familiar with greenbrier (frequently spelled greenbriar). The scientific genus name is Smilax. According to the USDA, 26 species are found in the United States. Worldwide, more than 300 species have been identified.
Why do so many of us know about greenbrier? It's because greenbrier will literally grab your attention. And your clothes. And your skin. Common names such as catbriar, horsebriar, bullbriar, and sawbriar attest to its thorny nature.
Perhaps we should start underground and work our way up towards the treetops. If you have ever clipped greenbriers, only to see them flourish year after year, you need only to observe the roots to see why.
Young plants will crawl along the ground until they locate a host plant to climb. Older greenbrier plants are capable of sending shoots several feet straight up, making it easier to find something to grab.
Fun fact: If you're trapped by a greenbrier vine, you cannot break it by pulling against it. Brute force only makes the thorns dig deeper. But the small vines can be easily snapped in two with your fingers. Sometimes I carry a small set of pruning shears in my vest pocket, so that I can cut my way through thickets without being badly mangled.
When the greenbriers are as thick as in the picture below, the only prudent action is to take an alternate route. They own that spot of real estate. Resistance is futile.