The sarsaparilla market in the state of São Paulo (Brazil) and the challenges of cultivation
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This study aimed to present information about the sarsaparilla sold in establishments in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, assess the genetic diversity of Smilax brasiliensis Spreng., Smilacaceae, and examine the growing conditions and productivity of five species of Smilax. The amount of sarsaparilla sold per month at most pharmacies was 0.4 kg on average. Herbal stores and markets sold averages of 9 kg and 8 kg per month, respectively. The weight of the underground biomass of S. fluminensis (188.3 g) is significantly higher than those of other species (28.3-79.6 g). The study demonstrated that high genetic diversity among the Smilax brasiliensis plants belonging to the CPQBA germplasm bank, which was confirmed by the results of the genotyping study that used a SSR marker on S. brasiliensis. The high consumption of sarsaparilla and the low yield of young plants cultivated from seeds with high genetic variability reinforce the need for further studies on the production of Smilax species.