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Notice tendrils among the leaves.




Smilax herbacea

Common Name of Genus: Carrion Flower
Family: Smiacaceae

Description: This herbaceous or climbing vine with tendrils at leaf axils and flowers which smell of carrion.
The leaves are smooth and have parallel veins. They are oval shaped tapering to a pointed tip.
A cluster of small green flowers which produce the scent of carrion or rotting flesh. They appear in May to June.
The blue-black berry found in a round cluster.
Stem: The stems are green and smooth. There are also tendrils growing off from leaf axils.
Branching Pattern:
Height: 3-10 feet long vine
Conditions/Habitat/Kind of Forest: They are found in damp thickets, woods and floodplains. 
Known Wildlife Interactions: The carrion sent attracts flies, which are the major pollinators of this plant.
Range: Found through out Eastern North America from Quebec south.
Conservation Status-US/ World Wide: Not threatened in the U.S. or globally.
Uses (Human):
None known.


Plants for a Future.  June 2004.  Accessed: April 27, 2006.  <>

The Pennsylvania Flora Project.  Botany Department, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.  Accessed:  April 27, 2006. <>

Connecticut Wildflowers.  January 20, 2006.  Connecticut Botanical Society.  Accessed:  April 27, 2006. <>

Peterson, Roger T., MicKenny, Margaret. Wildflowers: Northeast/ North-Central Amercia. Peterson Field Guides.1996. pg. 370

Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. 1977. pg. 348

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species <>

This page was created by: A Coiro, Muhlenberg College
Photos by: L. Rosenberg, edited by N. Smith
Last updated 04/25/06