Prickles grow on a multitude of plants, including vines. Vines are plants that develop lengthy stems or canes with a creeping, trailing or climbing formation. Vines fall into three categories, depending on the plant's support system: twining stems, tendrils or aerial roots. Many vines are vigorous, fast-growing plants; some are invasive species. Landscapers use vines as background plants, privacy screens and shade on decks or patios.
Mile-a-minute weed (Polygonum perfoliatum) is a rapidly growing herbaceous annual vine from the Polygonaceae family. This invasive vine grows up to 6 inches a day. Mile-a-minute weed has a trailing formation. Located in moist areas that receive full sun, mile-a-minute weed likes grows in habitats like fields, along the edges of woods and stream corridors. This Asian native has small, ridged prickles that point downward from the plant's stems. The alternate undivided foliage is a light green color and the flowers are small indistinct white blossoms.
Wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata) is an annual herbaceous vine that originates from North America. Part of the Cucurbitaceae plant family, wild cucumbers develop branching tendrils that support the vine. This energetically growing plant flourishes in wet locations like streambanks, roadsides and thickets. Wild cucumbers produces 1-inch-long fruit that resembles small watermelons covered in prickles. The white star-shaped flowers of the wild cucumber have six petals. The leaves have three to five pointy, triangular lobes that form on long stalks.
Trailing Pacific Blackberry
Trailing Pacific blackberry (Rubus ursinus) is a wildly growing invasive vine with a trailing format. Belonging to the Rosaceae plant family, this blackberry vine reaches 10 feet in length and 1 foot in height. The stems are thin and covered with prickles. From May until June, the trailing Pacific blackberry vine blossoms with 1- to 2-inch-wide white to pink flowers. The evergreen leaves have an ovate shape with a dark green shade on the top and a lighter hue underneath. During the summer, sweet edible blackberries assemble on the vine in clusters of ½-inch fruits.
Greenbriar (Smilax rotundifolia) is a woody prickly vine indigenous to eastern regions of the U.S. This Smilacaceae plant family member grows up to 30 feet in length when attached to a tree and forms thickets with its tough prickly covered stems. Greenbriar is a climbing vine that uses tendrils as a support system. The deep green foliage of greenbriar has a leathery appearance and 5-inch-long rounded to heart-shaped leaves. From April until August this fast-growing vine blossoms with tiny green flowers. During fall through winter, bluish-black berries flourish on the vine.
- Purdue University Extension; Annual and Perennial Vines; B Rosie Lerner and Michael N. Dana; November 2002
- University of Maine Extension; Mile-a-Minute Weed; 2004
- University of Wisconsin Extension: Vascular Plants of Wisconsin-Echinocystis Lobata
- Washington State University Extension: Trailing Pacific Blackberry
- Fairfax County Public Schools Extension: Greenbriar
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