Smilax herbacea L.
Smooth carrionflower, Carrionflower
Smilacaceae (Greenbrier Family)
Synonym(s): Nemexia herbacea
USDA Symbol: smhe
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.
From the Image Gallery
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , ON , 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
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Smilax herbacea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Smilax herbacea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Smilax herbacea
MetadataRecord Modified: 2010-11-27
Research By: TWC Staff