Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Supplejack - Berchemia scandens   (Hill) K. Koch
Members of Rhamnaceae:
Only member of Berchemia in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Rhamnales » Family Rhamnaceae
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Author(Hill) K. Koch
DistributionOccurs nearly throughout the Coastal Plain, but is mysteriously absent from the Sandhills proper. However, it is present sparingly in the southern Piedmont. It is absent over most of the Piedmont and all of the Mountains.

This is a Southern species that ranges north only to southeastern VA. It is found south through FL and west to central TX.
AbundanceCommon and widespread in the Coastal Plain, except absent in the Sandhills. Very rare in the Piedmont portion of the range.
HabitatThis species favors swamp forests and bottomlands, but it also occurs in wet thickets, and rarely onto high pH upland forests. As it avoids the Sandhills, it does not occur in strongly acidic soils such as pocosins, streamheads, and bays, nor even floodplains of brownwater rivers that traverse the Sandhills.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May; fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is a high-climbing woody vine, often ranging into the canopy, with alternate deciduous leaves. The leaves are narrowly elliptic to almost oblong, entire or slightly crenate, and grow to about 2-3 inches long. However, the leaves have very distinctive venation, with roughly 9-12 pairs of straight veins in a pinnate arrangement. (Nearly all similar vines have palmate vein patterns or curved or forked branching patterns.) The species has a terminal cluster of small greenish flowers, and small blue-black drupes, but these reproductive parts are not conspicuous; the vine should be easily identified by its parallel veins.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Rattan-vine, American Rattan, Alabama Supplejack, Carolina Supplejack
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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