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Smilax herbacea L.
Smooth carrionflower, Carrionflower
Synonym(s): Nemexia herbacea
USDA Symbol: smhe
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
A vine with broad leaves and stalked round clusters of small, green, putrid-smelling flowers in leaf axils.
This attractive vine climbs over other vegetation by means of tendrils. The unpleasant-smelling flowers attract insects, especially carrion flies (hence the common name), which serve as pollinators. There are at least six species of Smilax in the East; all are thorny, green-stemmed, often evergreen vines that form tangled thickets. The most common are Greenbrier (S. rotundifolia), with heart-shaped leaves and stout thorns; Sawbrier (S. glauca), with heart-shaped leaves, a whitish bloom beneath, and weak spines; and Bullbrier (S. bona-nox), a southern and midwestern species with triangular leaves, stout thorns, and 4-sided stems.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Vine Flower:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun
, WV Canada: MB
, QC Native Distribution:
Ontario east to New Brunswick, south to Georgia, west to Louisiana and Oklahoma, and north to Kansas, Iowa, and Minnesota. Native Habitat:
Moist woods, thickets, and meadows.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Clay, Loam, Sand
BenefitUse Wildlife: The bad-smelling flowers attract insects, especially carion flies, which serve as pollinators. (Niering)
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2010-11-27
Research By: TWC Staff