This native perennial vine may reach 6 feet or more in length, but most plants don’t climb and are much smaller (A). The leaves are oval and light green. Male (B) and female flowers (C) are on separate plants in clusters. Carrion flower has spherical flower heads. It is closely related to the more common Greenbrier (Smilax hispida), which has similar leaves and bears thorns.
Found in moist upland woods, flowering in May. In Fontenelle Forest, uncommon, for instance on Signal Ridge Trail. At Neale Woods, uncommon on History Trail.
The unpleasant-smelling flowers attract carrion flies to facilitate pollination; hence the common name.
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