Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Carrion Flower, Upright Greenbrier
Smilax ecirrhata

Family: Smilacaceae
Genus: Smilax (SMIL-aks) (Info)
Species: ecirrhata

Unknown - Tell us

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #1 of Smilax ecirrhata by Equilibrium


2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Malus2006 On Mar 14, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

This species is one of the very well behaved species unlike its other cousin Greenbrier species. It have no thorns and grow in clumps as a semi - vine. It will climb trees and shrubs but have weak stems and tendrils. Very common in woodland, both dry and mesic in Minnesota. Dies back to the ground every year and is not woody - more like straw - like. Height varies - I have seen one grow to 6 to 8 feet in mostly sun in rich soil in a garden supported by a tree - 2 to 3 feet is more common in gardens and 1 foot tall is not unusual in dense shade.

Is id by the deeply veined leaves as it is often one of a few species of ground vines that grows in dry shade along with wood - bine and wild grapes during the summer season- its semi vining help it get light in the dense shade of shrubs. In floodplain and certain wet habitation it is replaced by a species of thorny greenbriar. Is zone 4a hardy as I have seen it in Anoka Sandplain habitation - may be zone 3a hardy but I am not sure as it seem to resents the maple/oak/pine forests that generally form north of the Anoka Sandplain so it is zone 3b hardy too. Seem to self -seed poorly as the single plant I have is wild - collected and no seedlings have comes up and is very rare in the plant trade as people is not interesting or thinks of greenbriar which is a noxious thorny weedy vine.
Again the smell can be only noticed if you put your nose right in the flowers - to me it smell like dog poop.

Update: I have found white soft body bugs feeding on this species - apparantly only happen once in a while.

Positive Equilibrium On Dec 8, 2004, Equilibrium wrote:

Smilax ecirrhata is a native to the midwestern states of the US. The bloom is rather dainty and innocuous. If you get real close to the plant when it is in bloom, you will be able to smell why this plant was named a carrion flower- it smells like rotting meat- yuck. You do need to get extremely close to the plant to get a whiff and the odor only lasts for a few days so don't let this stop you from adding this to your woodland garden. Wonderful woodland plant that produces dark blue berries in the fall. These berries provide fall and winter fruits for many native species of birds. I would also like to comment that this plant works very well when companion planted with native ferns. Nice texture combination.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Brookville, Indiana
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Helena, Montana

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America