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Smilax herbacea

Smilax herbacea L.

Nemexia herbacea (L.) Small

Smooth Carrion Flower, Carrion Vine, Herbaceous Carrion Flower, Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassLiliidaeIncludes lilies, orchids, and many others
OrderLilialesIncludes lilies, tulips, trilliums, greenbriars, and others
FamilySmilacaceaeGreenbriar family
GenusSmilaxGreek for “clasping”
Speciesherbacea“Herbaceous,” vs. woody

About plant names...

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.

Online References:

Smilax herbacea on Ontario Wildflowers

Smilax herbacea on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Smilax herbacea at Illinois Wildflowers

Smilax herbacea on eFloras

Smilax herbacea on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

References:

Peterson, Lee Allen, Peterson Field Guides: Edible Wild Plants of Eastern/Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977, p. 148

Smilax herbacea (Smooth Carrion Flower, Carrion Vine, Herbaceous Carrion Flower, Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier)

6/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Smilax herbacea (Smooth Carrion Flower, Carrion Vine, Herbaceous Carrion Flower, Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier)

6/1/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Smilax herbacea (Smooth Carrion Flower, Carrion Vine, Herbaceous Carrion Flower, Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier)

5/15/1979 · VA · By Tim Chandler

Smilax herbacea (Smooth Carrion Flower, Carrion Vine, Herbaceous Carrion Flower, Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier)

6/1/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Smilax herbacea description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 30 May 2016.

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Smilax herbacea (Smooth Carrion Flower, Carrion Vine, Herbaceous Carrion Flower, Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier)

That's a 17-year cicada. · 5/15/1979 · VA · By Tim Chandler

Smilax herbacea (Smooth Carrion Flower, Carrion Vine, Herbaceous Carrion Flower, Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier)

6/1/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Smilax herbacea (Smooth Carrion Flower, Carrion Vine, Herbaceous Carrion Flower, Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier)

5/15/1979 · VA · By Tim Chandler

Smilax herbacea (Smooth Carrion Flower, Carrion Vine, Herbaceous Carrion Flower, Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier)

6/4/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 8 × 6" (19 × 15 cm)

Range:

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