Smooth carrion flowers are North American natives.
Identification: Smooth carrion flower has a number of striking
characteristics, so you aren't likely to confuse it with other plants. It is a vine, up to 10' (3 m) long,
with curling tendrils that grasp nearby plants. It has a smooth, pale green stem; most vines have woody
stems. It has egg-shaped alternate leaves up to 3½" (8.9 cm) long, with smooth edges and shiny surfaces. If it is flowering, the flowers are arranged in ball-shaped clusters. The individual 6-petalled flowers are ½" (1.3 cm)
across, and green. Usually flowers stand out, so green is a very uncommon color,
but these flowers have another way of attracting their pollinators: they smell like carrion. Female flower
clusters form tight green balls; while male clusters are looser, the individual flowers a bit spider-like
in appearance, with tiny white stamens. Fruits are tight round balls of dark blue berries, each berry about
⅜" (1 cm) in diameter.
Edibility: The leaves and young shoots may be eaten raw or boiled
for 15 minutes
like asparagus. The roots, properly processed, yield a gelatin-like extract.