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Red-berried Bamboo Smilax walteri

Previously known as:

  • Smilax china
  • Smilax megacarpa
Phonetic Spelling
SMIL-aks WAL-ter-ee
Description

Coral greenbrier is a deciduous woody vine in the Smilacaceae (greenbrier) family. It grows quickly from an elongated rhizome using tendrils.  It is found along pond margins and stream banks, and other places that are submersed for at least part of the year. In nature, it is specifically found in swamp forests and bogs.

The species is not self-fertile as individual yellow brown flowers that appear in spring are either male or female.  Nectar from the flowers is attractive to pollinators. Because only one sex on any one plant, both male and female plants must be grown if fruits are desired. Showy bright red berries appear in the fall and persist into winter and provide a food source for birds and small mammals.  This is the only native North Carolina Smilax with red fruit.  Coral greenbrier climbs by tendrils and spreads primarily by rhizomes.  It is heat tolerant and is less prickly than other members of the Smilax genus.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#full sun tolerant#perennials#yellow flowers#native perennials#piedmont#woody#spring flowers#winter interest#riparian#fall interest#showy fruits#stream banks#pond margins#moist soil#food source wildlife#NC native#well-drained soil#vines#woody vine#small and large mammals#red fruits#native garden#fruits fall#deciduous vine#spring interest#native vine#pollinator plant#flowers late spring#food source fall#flowers early summer#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains OBL#flowering vine#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#vine#wetland margins#partial shade tolerant#flood tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#winter fruits#non-toxic for cats#Audubon#coastal plant#flowers mid-spring#food source winter#boggy sites
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#full sun tolerant#perennials#yellow flowers#native perennials#piedmont#woody#spring flowers#winter interest#riparian#fall interest#showy fruits#stream banks#pond margins#moist soil#food source wildlife#NC native#well-drained soil#vines#woody vine#small and large mammals#red fruits#native garden#fruits fall#deciduous vine#spring interest#native vine#pollinator plant#flowers late spring#food source fall#flowers early summer#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains OBL#flowering vine#wet soils tolerant#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#vine#wetland margins#partial shade tolerant#flood tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#winter fruits#non-toxic for cats#Audubon#coastal plant#flowers mid-spring#food source winter#boggy sites
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Smilax
    Species:
    walteri
    Family:
    Smilacaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South-central, southeastern, and east-central United States
    Distribution:
    East Texas, east to Florida and north to Maryland and New Jersey
    Wildlife Value:
    Pollinators enjoy the nectar from the flowers. Birds and small mammals enjoy the berries as a food source.
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Dimensions:
    Height: 5 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Prickles
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    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:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Bright red, globular, shiny, berries remain on plant into the winter. They begin to display in the month of September and die down past November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Insignificant
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Yellow-brown flowers from April-June
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves may be deciduous or semievergreen, ovate-oblong, to ovate-lanceolate, with 3 prominent veins, thin, 2-4" ×1-3", or twice as long as they are wide. The base is rounded, subcordate, or, sometimes wedge-shaped at petiole insertion. The upper leaf surfaces are dark green with paler green lower surfaces. Petioles and veins can be red.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are angled, slender, woody, branching, glabrous with scattered prickles mostly near the base.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Pond
    Riparian
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat
    Heavy Shade
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns