Break out your chaps and leather jacket! Catbriar season is on on the east coast, and the more you can protect yourself the more of those crisp delicious tendrils and shoots you can harvest. This plant also goes by the name of greenbriar, and a few other nice and not-so-nice names. I believe the one in the photograph below is Smilax rotundifolia. Bend the end of the vine where still flexible and it will easily snap off (thorns on the flexible shoots are soft and flexible as well).
I spent a few days in Maryland, just south of Washington DC, with family. How patient they are with my wild food experiments. We ate the dish described in the recipe below for nearly every meal. The wild garlic and bamboo shoots are widely available right now as well, and along with the smilax can also be eaten raw. Snap off young bamboo shoots (photograph below), peel off outside skin until you reach tender inner core, and slice. Continue slicing and removing tough outer skin as you move up the shoot.
Smilax Bamboo Stirfry
4 c smilax, cut in 4 inch segments
1 c bamboo shoots, sliced
1/8 c oil
1/2 c wild garlic bulbs and tops, chopped
1/2 t wild ginger powder
1/8 c soy sauce
Put oil into pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is heated add sliced bamboo shoots. After about 1 minute add wild ginger powder. After one more minute add wild garlic and smilax. Stir thoroughly, turn heat to high and add soy sauce. Let cook for one minute and serve immediately.