Ontario Wildflowers website

Carrion Flowers Group

To see all  Carrion Flowers  in order by Common Name     START HERE
Carrion Flowers can be very difficult and confusing to tell apart. Voss does a very good job with this in Michigan Flora, Vol 1, Pages 396-397.

In short here are the main indicators for each species of Carrion Flower:
If the leaves are glabrous beneath, and the umbels have more than 20 flowers, then it is likely Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)
If the leaves are not glabrous beneath, but are finely puberulent, at least on the veins beneath, then...
If the stem is over 1m tall, it is Carrion Flower (Smilax lasioneura)
If the stem is under 1m tall, it is one of the two others...
These two usually have fewer than 25 leaves, and tendrils absent or at best poorly developed and limted to the upper branches.
If there are fewer than 25 flowers in an umbel, usually fewer than 20 leaves on a plant (usually only 7-9), plant stems under 50cm tall, then it is likely Upright Carrion Flower (Smilax ecirrata).
The last Carrion Flower, Illinois Carrion Flower (Smilax illinoensis), is distinguished by having usually more than 25 flowers in an umbel, and having one or more other excpetions to the above - ie, more than 20 leaves, stems over 50cm tall.
There are a few other technical differences, which will be found by referring to Voss.
Carrion Flower (Smilax lasioneura)
Carrion Flower
(Smilax lasioneura)
Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)
Carrion Flower
(Smilax herbacea)
Illinois Carrion Flower (Smilax illinoensis)
Illinois Carrion Flower
(Smilax illinoensis)
To see all  Carrion Flowers  in order by Common Name     START HERE