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Smilax smallii is often confused with:
Smilax glabra
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Smilax herbacea Flowers
Smilax walteri
Maianthemum racemosum Smilacina racemosa

Smilax Smilax smallii

Phonetic Spelling
SMEE-laks SMAL-lee-i
Description

Smilax smalli commonly called Greenbriar is normally found in coastal bogs, moist lowlands, bottomland forests, and low sandy areas but will tolerate dry sites.  Most Greenbriar, or Catbriar, vines are woody, but a few are herbaceous.  Many are armed with thorns and most climb via tendrils.  Prune it back severely every three years to prevent it from becoming a dense thicket.  This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer. Dioecious: needs a male pollinator to get female fruit set. It only has prickles on the juvenile stems. Good for evergreen screening.

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.  

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:   Spring           Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#thorns#coast#evergreen vine#acidic soil tolerant#woody vine#screen#extreme flammability#food source summer#non-toxic for horses#tendrils#vine#food source nectar#Piedmont Mountains FACU#sun#privacy#arching#wet soils tolerant#early summer flowers#flower#perennial#screening#winter fruits#dry soil#summer fruits#summer flowers#part sun#part shade#riparian#late spring flowers#prickles#shade garden#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source#bogs#shade tolerant#thickets#green#green flowers#Coastal FACU#coastal plant#winter interest#food source spring#pollinators#herbaceous#piedmont#dry soils tolerant#spring fruits#food source fall#dioecious#mid-summer flowers#fruit#NC native#flowering#evergreen#shade#non-toxic for dogs#native vine#fruits#deer browsing plant#pollinator plant#food source soft mast fruit#cover year-round#food source herbage#native#vines#native perennial#security#deer resistant#flowering vine#pollinator garden#fall fruits#fire#humidity tolerant#woody#coastal#nesting sites#small and large mammals#food source winter#sandy soils tolerant#spring interest#coastal areas#partial sun#shade flowers#audubon#shiny leaves#native garden#partial shade#wildlife plant#non-toxic for cats#moist soil#summer interest#fall interest
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Smilax
    Species:
    smallii
    Family:
    Smilacaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Middle and Eastern U.S.A.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    extreme flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    The dense vine tangles provide nesting and hiding cover for birds and other wildlife.  Its fruits are eaten by songbirds, ruffed grouse, wide turkeys, and quail.  White-tailed deer browse the leaves and twigs, especially in the winter. Pollinators enjoy the nectar from the flower.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Screening
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Dense
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Tendrils
    Thorns
  • 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:
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Brick red berries eventually turn dark red-black at maturity. In North Carolina, the berries are available from April to June of the following year.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Smilax smalli has tiny green flowers in clusters formed in the leaf axils all the way to the ends of branches. Inn North Carolina, the flowers are available from June to July.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Smooth
    Waxy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Shiny, simple, lanceolate to elliptical, smooth (glabrous), with entire margins. The apex is acute and the base is rounded (cuneate).
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Thorny and often form right angles to the main stem. It only has prickles on the juvenile stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Riparian
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heat
    Humidity
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns