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Carrion Flower Smilax herbacea

Other plants called Carrion Flower:

Previously known as:

  • Nemexia herbacea
Phonetic Spelling
SMIL-aks her-bay-SEE-uh
Description

Carrion Flower is fragrant. However, the fragrance has been described as 'rotten meat' or 'dead rats'. It is typically found in moist forests, thickets, and wooded banks. It tolerates a wide range of soil types but prefers moist soil. The Smooth Carrion Flower is distinguished from other species of Smilax because it is not thorny and it lacks hairs on the underside of the leaf. It also has a very long stem that holds the berry bunch on the vine. The plants of Smilax are dioecious - the male and female flowers are on separate plants and are therefore not self-fertile.

Fire Risk: This plant has an extreme flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home. Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home.  

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#black berries#extreme flammability#food source summer#non-toxic for horses#wetlands#vine#food source nectar#wet soils tolerant#full shade#perennial#medicinal#wildflower garden#forests#summer fruits#part sun#part shade#late spring flowers#shade garden#black fruits#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source#fragrant flowers#showy#perennial flowers#shade tolerant#thickets#green#green flowers#coastal plant#fragrant#piedmont#dioecious#food source fall#rhizomes#well-drained soil#NC native#shade#non-toxic for dogs#native vine#food source soft mast fruit#woodland#berries#food source herbage#native#vines#native perennial#small mammals#fall fruits#fire#edible plant#coastal#edible#meadow#sandy soils tolerant#food source soft-mast fruit#spring interest#coastal areas#malodorous#partial sun#weedy#shade flowers#unpleasant fragrance#mountains#audubon#clay soils tolerant#native garden#Piedmont Mountains FAC#partial shade#showy flowers#non-toxic for cats#moist soil#coastal FAC#fall interest#summer interest#perennials#glossy leaves#spring flowers#coast
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Smilax
    Species:
    herbacea
    Family:
    Smilacaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The fruit has been used to treat hoarseness. Dried and powdered leaves have been used as a dressing on burns. The wilted leaves have been used as a dressing on boils. The essence of the root has been used for back pains, stomach complaints, lung disorders, and kidney problems
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada and the US, south to Georgia and Alabama
    Fire Risk Rating:
    extreme flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Berries are eaten by Ruffled Grouse, Wild Turkey, and various songbirds. Leaves are grazed by deer and rabbits. Flowers are pollinated by insects, notably carrion flies which lay eggs in the blossoms.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Screening
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Edibility:
    Leaves and young shoots are cooked and used like asparagus. The root can be dried, ground into a powder and then used with cereals for making bread. It can also be used as a gelatine substitute.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Vine
    Weed
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Erect
    Appendage:
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Individual dark blue berries are about ¼" across and contain about 3-5 seeds. In North Carolina, the fruits are available from August to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Individual umbels are about 1½–3" across, consisting of 20-120 flowers on slender pedicels; the umbels resemble a globe when fully developed. It is dioecious; the green to yellowish-green staminate flowers are each ¼" across, with of 6 tepals and 6 stamens with white anthers. The green to yellowish-green pistillate flowers are each ¼" across, with of 6 tepals and a pistil with 3 flattened stigmata. The unpleasant (putrid) smelling flowers attract insects and are pollinated by carrion flies. In North Carolina, the flowers are available from May to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Upper surfaces of the leaves are medium green and smooth, and lower surfaces are pale green. They are ovate-oval to broadly ovate-lanceolate with smooth margins and parallel-veined.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Light green to purple stems are cylindrical, slightly speckled, smooth, and often glaucous.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Riparian
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Screen/Privacy
    Security
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Malodorous