Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Coastal Carrion-flower - Smilax pseudochina   L.
Members of Smilax with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Liliales » Family Smilacaceae
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AuthorL.
DistributionScattered in the Coastal Plain, but primarily in the Sandhills and counties eastward in the southern part of the province. Only a few records for the northern Coastal Plain, despite it being found in many states north of NC. Apparently no valid records in the Piedmont (though Gaston County shows on the BONAP map.)

This is mainly an Atlantic Coastal Plain species, ranging from Long Island (NY) south to GA. It does not range to FL.
AbundanceRare to very uncommon in the Sandhills and southeastern counties. Very rare northward to the VA line. This is an NC Watch List species.
HabitatThis is a strictly wetland species, of swamp margins, streamhead pocosins, and other wet/damp woods. It can also be found in edges of savannas, as well.
PhenologyBlooms in May, and fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is an herbaceous “vine” that grows to 3-4 feet long or tall. The leaf shape differs somewhat from other herbaceous Smilax species in that the base is somewhat truncate and not deeply or clearly cordate. The leaves tend to be rather triangular in shape, with leaf margins almost straight and tapering to an acute tip. Some leaves, at least on some plants, may be somewhat hastate (with slight basal lobes). In addition, as it grows only in the Coastal Plain, in swamps and pocosins, it does not overlap in range and habitat with other herbaceous Smilax “vines” – S. herbacea, S. lasioneura, and S. pulverulenta. Thus, you may have to distinguish this species from several Dioscorea species, especially exotic ones.
Taxonomic CommentsThis species was known as Smilax tamnifolia for much or most of the 20th Century. Some references may spell the name as pseudo-china, instead of pseudochina.

Other Common Name(s)Bamboo-vine (usually used for S. laurifolia), False Chinaroot, Longstalk Greenbrier. Unfortunately for these names, none use “Carrion-flower”, which is the preferred name for the herbaceous species of Smilax. Greenbrier is generally used only for the woody vines in the genus; the other two names are idiosyncratic and do not indicate the group of plants to which it is a member.
State RankS3
Global RankG4G5
State StatusW1
US Status
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