Ontario Wildflowers website

Carrion Flower
(Smilax herbacea)

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea) Other common names: Carrion Vine, Herbaceous Carrion Flower

Other scientific names: Coprosmanthus herbaceus

French names: Smilax herbacé

Family: Catbrier Family (Smilacaceae), (Lily Family (Liliaceae))

Group: Carrion Flowers

Distinctive features: Upright vine with clusters of greenish flowers which turn into clusters of dark blue fruit.

Similar species:
  •   Carrion Flower (Smilax lasioneura) - Very similar.

  •   Upright Carrion Flower (Smilax ecirrata) - Very similar.

  •   Illinois Carrion Flower (Smilax illinoensis) - Very similar.


Flowers: Summer;  Green/Brown;  6 parts (petals);  This species is named Carrion Flower for a reason: the flowers do indeed smell like carrion!

Leaves: Simple, Entire

Stem: The stem is sometimes glaucous (has a light coating on it that is easily rubbed off).

Habitat: Open woods.

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 348   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Photographs: 64 photographs available, of which 12 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

This and the next photo show an overall view of a Carrion Flower.

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

Vine with fruit.

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

Carrion Flower flowers in mid-June.

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

Closeup view of the greenish flowers.

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

Typical leaf.

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

Underside of leaf.

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

Fruit of Carrion Flower. The bright blue colour stands out in the woods. Sometimes they last into the winter with this colour.

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

However, more often than not the fruit of Carrion Flower dries out with the onset of winter.

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

And is often completely gone by the end of winter (March).

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

Early spring shoot (May).

Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

Photo of the stem of Carrion Flower, which is glaucous.


Range map for Carrion Flower (Smilax herbacea)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)