Vines make for an interesting addition to a garden. In addition to filling previously empty vertical space, vines can be used to add foliage to the scenery. Some vines have thorns and need to be either removed or identified so that they can be properly cared for. It may take some time to identify a rare vine, but some common vines can be easily identified when you study their leaves, stems, flowers and growing patterns.
Evaluate the location of the vine. Some plants prefer full-sun locations, while others thrive in partial or full shade.
Examine how the vine climbs. Most vines with thorns use the thorns to climb structures. However, some throny vines will also climb using another method. For example, Cat's Claw is a twining, thorny vine that will wrap itself around a structure.
Take note of any flowers or berries on the vine. Some thorny vines flower at certain times of years or produce berries. For example, some rose varieties grow on vines and have thorns.
Watch the foliage as the season changes. Some vines are deciduous and others are evergreen. Greenbrier is a type of evergreen vine with thorny margins on the leaves.
Use your accumulated information to determine the variety of vine you have. If you cannot do so on your own, consult with a local nursery or your area's cooperative extension to determine what type of vine it is. These facilities will know what kinds of vines are common and thrive in the area. A book or online resource may also be useful if local staff are unavailable.