Smooth Carrion

Smilax herbacea

Family: Smilacaceae
Genus: Smilax (SMIL-aks) (Info)
Species: herbacea (her-buh-KEE-uh) (Info)



Vines and Climbers

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

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)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Danvers, Illinois

Hanna City, Illinois

Warren, Indiana

Yale, Iowa

Ellicott City, Maryland

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Letcher, South Dakota

Greenwood, Virginia

Kendall, Wisconsin

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Gardeners' Notes:


On May 10, 2010, redbull56 from Greenwood, VA wrote:

I had never noticed this plant until a few days ago when I discovered it in full bloom. It was growing along a fence line in a damp woods at the eastern base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. The flowers were stunning and spectacular. However, the odor was equally stunning in a negative way. It was strong even 30 feet away from the plant and it smelled like a rotting deer carcass. I don't think that particular plant will have any problem attracting flies to pollenate it! Still, I wouldn't rule it out for a garden.


On Nov 25, 2009, sheepshanks from franklin,
Canada wrote:

Have found this plant growing on the north side of a lightly treed (Chokecherry, Hawthorn, Oak) field edge. It was clambering up a chokecherry. Have collected seeds today, almost like a cluster of blueberries! Will sow some in unheated greenhouse and some indoors. Not sure about collecting seed when the flowers have faded the fruits seem very small and hard at that time?
I'm in Manitoba where we get down to minus 35-40C, Zone 2b-3.
Thanks for the very informative site.


On Jun 8, 2009, tattooedkoi from Hanna City, IL wrote:

Can't say enough good about this plant. Grows natively along the roadside of our farm in full, blazing sun in heavy competition with thick grasses and other plants. Exotic and downright alien in appearance when it is just starting to attain some height in the spring. We fell in love with this plant so much that when creating the logo for our farm we incorporated one of the stalks into the design. Amazingly well behaved given its other notorious family members and no thorns. Am attempting to cultivate from seed this year. Will post more as the experiment progresses. If you can, get one of these!


On Sep 23, 2007, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

We often see this vine on our woods walks around here. Evidently, it's fine in dappled shade, and must not be too tasty to deer, or it wouldn't grow wild.

It's peculiarities are why I think it's so wonderful. The flowers stink something terrible, but not if you don't bury your nose in them - the wonder of that stink is awesome reason alone for growing it.

But I think it's quite beautiful. The first time I ever saw it, we were walking along a river in the spring, and along the bank, it was rising up like a cobra and it had a flower back-lit by dappled light that seemed to glow from within. The flower is kinda like an onion flower with zillions of florets inside, and the whole effect in that kind of light is a luminous chartreuse.

It's also kn... read more


On Dec 28, 2006, wiscwoodlander from Kendall, WI (Zone 4a) wrote:

Great looking native vine. Interesting year round foliage. Unique ball like flowers in spring followed by bluish black berries in late autumn. A must have for any woodland garden.