Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Rattan Vine, Supplejack
Berchemia scandens

Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Berchemia (ber-KEE-mee uh) (Info)
Species: scandens (SKAN-dens) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By trois
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By JulieQ
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There are a total of 8 photos.
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2 positives
3 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Dec 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The foliage is very glossy and attractive---clean and unblemished throughout the growing season. The leaves are small and dainty. I can imagine this as a useful screening plant, when grown on a metal trellis or arbor.

And I can see how this can be an aggressive strangler, if allowed to climb into trees and shrubs. It climbs by twining, like bittersweet or honeysuckle or wisteria.

Generally reaches 20-50' in height.

Native to the southeastern US, from the Gulf coast north to MD, IL, MO, and west to TX.

Positive deejaaa On Jan 20, 2014, deejaaa from Baytown, TX wrote:

I will be using sections for shifter knobs due to it's dense structure. I haven't found any as large as stated here so if there are any places around the S E Houston areas that these are large, let me know. It takes awhile for these to dry out, too quick and they will split. I have worked with other simular woods and I place them in a plastic bag, leave in the shaded garage and work on them when there is no more moisture condensing on the plastic(up to a year). I have sanded smaller pieces and the grain/color/texture looks rich. And it's pretty heavy.

Neutral Mila1 On Jan 12, 2011, Mila1 from Memphis, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is a native plant in the Southeast. It grows in wooded areas and on slopes. It can survive anything: scorching sun, full shade, cold, hot, flood, drought, poor soil. When the conditions are not favorable, it goes dormant where the vines lose their leaves and wait for better conditions. The vines are very tough while they are green and it would be great if someone could find a use for them. The vines are brittle when dry. Berries are poisonous to humans.

Uses: 1. Rattan vine for wicker. 2. According to a book on Native American ethnobotany, this plant was used to treat impotence.

This is not a landscaping plant because it's a vine with very few leaves that chokes out other plants. If left on its own, it can cause problems, but I can see where it may be useful if used wisely. It's not that difficult to get rid of it if you don't want it (not as bad as poison ivy). I wouldn't plant it as an ornamental plant, but its strength is intriguing and should be explored for commercial use.

Negative victorymoon On Jan 6, 2010, victorymoon from Galveston, TX wrote:

Please use caution IF you plant this species...
It takes over and become quite a problem.
On the 20 acres, here in Oklahoma, it is killing trees of all kinds, making a wooded area a jungle, and so far, we are finding no way to control it other than by hand, since we would rather not use chemicals.

Positive Super65 On Nov 4, 2009, Super65 from Belton, TX wrote:

In Central Texas found growing in limestone woods along creeks and draws as understory growth seems to prefer moist shady areas but obviously can thrive in drought periods. Vines can be quite large. I read they can be as large as 15cm, and I saw one cut recently on land being cleared of cedar that was 5". This got me to looking to see what this vine was. Resembles a buckthorn tree in vine form. The vines are very pretty, foliage and fruits attractive. Could be a nuisance in favorable conditions I imagine. The size and strength of the vines would make removal difficult, and the roots looked aggressive.
I'm filling my yard with native plants, so I brought some back with me. Hopefully it won't cover me up

Neutral frostweed On Jan 5, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Rattan Vine, Supplejack Berchemia scandens is Native to Texas and other States.

Negative trois On Jun 20, 2005, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

A very obnoxious plant. It ties the canopy of all the trees together. When you cut a tree it will not fall. The vines are strong enough to stop a farm tractor. The leaves choke out other plants. It withstands dry conditions better than any other plants around. Not a good plant.
Sometimes it kills trees while others grow over the vine and cover it with bark.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cullman, Alabama
Enterprise, Alabama
New Market, Alabama
Morrilton, Arkansas
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Camdenton, Missouri
Concord, North Carolina
Memphis, Tennessee
Baytown, Texas
Belton, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas

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