Ruscus aculeatus (butcher’s broom) is a member of the Liliaceae family and is native to Mediterranean Europe and Africa. It has tough, green, erect, striated stems that send out numerous short branches and very rigid leaves that are actually extensions of the stem and terminate in a single sharp spine. The small greenish- white flowers grow from the center of the leaves and bloom in the early spring. The thick root, typically collected in autumn, is used medicinally. The root has no odor, but has an initially sweetish taste that then turns slightly acrid.