In 2013, Hidden Garden created a special area for the Smilacaceae Family, which has been exported unsustainably from Central America for almost 500 years. This unique family includes the Cuculmecas (Smilax domingensis or panamensis) and Sarsaparillas (usually Smilax officionalis) which are used to clean the blood, detoxify organs, fight infections and balance the body. We have recently added a collection of Dioscoreas known as White Cuculmecas, including Dioscorea Mexicana, a “Wild Yam”, one of the original ingredients of birth control pills.


The Smilax Conservation Project has the following components:

  1. A botanical collection in the garden of as many Smilax varieties as are available in the area. This area has the correct canopy requirements, drainage and soil conditions for growth.
  2. Ethnobotanical research to determine the correct taxonomy and phytochemistry for each species collected, as well as the historical uses of the family as per geographic area and ethnicity.
  3. Developing networks, including academic, local and social media, leading to the organization of existing efforts and documentation
  4. Online and onsite libraries of relevant resources.
  5. Creating a nursery for the sale and donation of sustainably-harvested rhizome starters.
  6. Creating educational material for local traditional communities to correctly identify their most powerful plants, including the Smilax members, as well as instructions for accessing online research resources.
  7. Together with Rich Coast Project, archiving wellness traditions of the area and promoting legal and scientific literacy for ethnobotanical conservation.

Check out these resources that we have collected during our research!


Alan Bolt Plantas medicinales Online PDF file Medicinal Plants, Central America, Nicaragua, Research, Reference, Ethnobotanical, Methods
Aldo Orlando López Salguero Caracteristicacion de una Planatacion de Zarzaparilla Smilax, Herbs, Identification, Global, Reference
Andres Hernandez Panama Silvestre: Detalles sobre la vida silvestre en Panama Online Photos Identification
Anne E. Winterbottom Of the China Root: A Case Study of the Early Modern Circulation of Materia Medica Online Abstract Abstract, Reference, Journal
Armando Cáceres, Sully M. Cruz, Vincente Martinex, Isabel Gaitan, Aylin Santizo, Susana Gattuso, Martha Gattuso Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia: Ethnobotanical, pharmacognostical, pharmacological and phytochemical studies on Smilax domingensis in Guatemala Online Article Reference, Methods, Results, Ethnobotanical, Pharmacology, Chemistry, Characteristics, Reference
Castro-Cortes, R My Virtual Herbarium V 1.9.8 Online Herbarium Plants, endangered species, Tropical Research Center, Veracruz University
Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Enseñanza, Proyecto Conservacion para el Desarrollo Sostenible en America Central Informe final Proyecto Conservacion para el Desarrollo Sostenible en America Central Fase 1 (1989-1992) Online Book Conservation, Sustainable, Central America
Cloverleaf Farm Online Herbal Encyclopedia of Knowledge Online Database Reference, Herbal Encyclopedia, History, Actions, Componets, Medicinal Parts, Traditional Uses
Dra. Lilian Ferrufino, Zamorano Honduras Plantas Para La Salud del Mundo Online Blog Identification, References
edited by herbalist of MDidea Extracts Professional. Botanical Source and History of Sarsaparilla, Smilax root Online Article Reference, Botanical Info, Description, Constituents, Ethnobotanical, Ethnomedical, Research
Felipe Herrera Taller de Seguimento Tecnico Manejo Sostenible, Smilax
Gabriel Roberto Robles Valle, Kloeber Oliveira Barbosa, Róger Villalobos Soto Assessment of non-wood forest products in Central America Online Research Reference, Medicinal Plants, Central America, Nicaragua, Guatamala
Hipolito Ruiz Tavels of Ruiz, Pavon, and Dombey in Peru and Chile (1777-1788) Online Book Scan Travel Journal, Mention
Janet L. Allured Women’s Healing Art: Domestic Medicine in the Turn-of-the-Century Ozarks \ Women, folk medicine\"
Jim Duke,Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases,,Online Database,Reference
Database Ethnobotanical"
John Hancock, M.D. The Properties and Preparation of the Rio Negro Sarsaparilla and of the Angustura Bark, Practically Examined by John Hancock, M.D. Online Book Scan Reference, Properties, Preparation, History
Leslie Taylor Raintree Tropical Plant Database Online Database Identification, Reference, Database, Healing Properties and Actions, Folk Medicine, Clinical Research, Practical Uses, Ethnomedical Uses.
Lilian Ferrufino-Acosta Willdenowia—Taxonomy of Plants of the Americas: Taxonomic revision of the genus Smilax (Smilacaceae) in Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Online Article Identification, Taxonomic, Smilax, Central America, Caribbean
Ling-Nieto, F.; Robles-Valle, G,; Villalobos-Soto, Roger Sarsaparilla and ecological studies cuculmeca in Talamanca, Costa Rica Online Abstract of Book ISBN 9977-57-314-X Reference, Central America, Summary, Costa Rica
Manuel Galeote Nombres indígenas de plantas americanas en los tratados científicos de Fray Agustín Farfán Online PDF file Reference, Ethnobotanical Names, Actions, Qualities, Ortiga
Martha Velazquez Medicina Precolombina (Cap.7) Online Presentation Presentation
Merriwether Foraging Texas: Greenbriar Online Article Identification, photos, distribution, North America
Monica Chavez Guzman Medicos y Medicinas en el Mundo Penisular Maya Colonial y Decimononico Indigenous massage, sobando
Patrick Browne The Civil and Natural History of Jamaica Online Book Scan Description, Jamaica
Pedro de Cieza de Leon La Cronica del Peru Online Book Historical, Colonization
Philip Miller The Gardeners Dictionary, 8th edition Online Article Identification, Reference, Distribution, Specimens, Images
Rémi Siméon Diccionario de la lengua náhuatl o mexicana
Rossana Lok Huertos Caseros Tradicionales de America Central Online Book Preview Central America,
The Field Museum Neotropical Live Plant Photos Online Photos Identification, photos, distribution
U.S. Forest Service U.S. Forest Service: International Programs Website International Programs
William H. Helfand Advertising Health to the People Health Justice, Community
The Meaning of Latin Plant Names Herbs, Identification, Global, Reference
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Encyclopedia Description, Distrubution page not loading
Libro de la Miseria Online Book Scan 1604
Encyclopedia of Life Online ID Indentification, Photos, Reference Smilax Searchable Text
Kavasch American Indian Healing Arts
Wood, Matthew The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to the New World Medicinal Plants
Guzman Peredo, Miguel Medical Practices in Ancient America Online Book TLM



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