Ripogonum scandens - J.R.Forst.&G.Forst.
Common Name Supple Jack
Family Smilacaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Lowland podocarp and broad-leaved forests on North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands[44].
Range New Zealand.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade

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Ripogonum scandens Supple Jack
Ripogonum scandens Supple Jack
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of climber
Ripogonum scandens is an evergreen Climber growing to 10 m (32ft 10in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. It is in leaf 12-Jan. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves;  Root;  Sap.
Edible Uses:

Root - cooked. It is rich in starch[105]. The root is very fibrous and is used as a flavouring for beer[173]. Fruit - raw or cooked. Dry and uninteresting[153, 173]. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter[200]. Young shoots - cooked. They taste like fresh green beans[173]. Sap. It is obtained by blowing it out of short cut sections of the stem[173].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antirheumatic;  Skin;  Stomachic;  Vulnerary.

Antirheumatic, skin, stomachic, vulnerary[61]. The burnt stems and sap are used to cauterize wounds[61].


Other Uses
Basketry;  String.

The stems are used in basket making and also to make rope ladders[44, 46, 61, 128]. The stems are strong enough to be used as they are to make a rope[128].
Cultivation details
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it is unlikely to succeed outdoors in Britain in any but the mildest areas of the country. Plants do not take kindly to cultivation, but a rich soil and shade are probably the best conditions for it[1].
Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse. Sow stored seed in a warm greenhouse in the spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in the greenhouse. Plant out in early summer. Division.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Subject : Ripogonum scandens  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
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