Alabama supplejack (Berchemia scandens) is easy to spot at this time of year in the bare north
The supplejack, also know as rattan vine, climbs up supports by scrambling up over trees or twining up tree trunks with its pliant vines. It prefers moist soils, but it is not unusual to find it growing on dry, dolomite glades in the Ozarks tangled across the rocks. The lianas are quite strong measuring up to three inches across, and sometimes they throttle the supporting trunk killing the tree. Many walking sticks with a natural spiral form were made by supplejack vine! The "rattan" vines have been used in making wicker in this county, and although I do not think it is being commercially used, for artisans it is a good basket material.
The flowers bloom in May and June. They are non-descript tiny, star-shaped green flowers grouped in panicles at the end of stems. Some places the vine is thick enough to be the dominant pollen used to produce a dark colored amber honey. In
The supplejack in this photo is the same as in the above winter photos. Can you find it? Look in the right hand top corner.
Pam Croom © 2008
References about Supplejack:
Kurz, D. 1997. Shrub and Woody Vine of
Lieux, M.H. A 1971. Melissopalynological Study of 54 Lousiana (
Miller, J.H. and K.V. Miller.
Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, C. R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the