Fig. 44. -Meadow Garlic (Allium cana-dense). X 1/5.
Time of bloom: May to June.
Seed-time: July to September.
Range: Massachusetts to Kansas, southward to Florida and Texas.
Habitat: Cultivated crops, fields, meadows, waste places.
Most of the Green-briers have a preference for woods and thickets, where they seldom prove very annoying to the farmer, but this one comes out into the open and will invade almost any crop that may be growing in the dry and mellow soil which it prefers. Birds eat its berries and void the seeds unharmed by digestion, and sometimes the seeds are distributed while still on the dried stalks, in baled hay and straw; also the long, knotted root-stocks are broken and the tubers scattered by farming tools in ordinary cultivation. (Fig. 45.)
Stem perennial, round, slender, set with scattering, rather stout, slightly curved prickles; but the branches and twigs are angled and unarmed. Leaves broadly ovate, smooth, entire, five-nerved, covered with a bloom on the under side and sometimes above, with short petioles bearing at the base on each side a long tendril; these tendril-bearing petioles are persistent even when the blades of the leaves fall away in autumn. Flowers in umbels on slender, flattened, axillary peduncles; they are dioecious, yellowish white, very small, with six-parted perianth in two rows of three, soon falling away; the sterile flowers have six stamens, with threadlike filaments inserted on the very base; the fertile flowers have three short and spreading, almost sessile stigmas above a three-celled ovary which develops a small, three-seeded berry, ripening the first year, jet-black and glossy when the glaucous film which covers it is rubbed away.
Fig. 45. - Saw Brier (Smilax glauca). X 1/4.
Put the land to a crop requiring hoe-cultivation; the use of a cultivator only serves to spread the pest by scattering the tubers. Small thickets should be grubbed out, or the tops cut and the roots treated with caustic soda or carbolic acid.