Smilax tamnoides


Sp. Pl. 2: 1030. 1753

Common names: China root hellfetter bristly greenbrier
Synonyms: Smilax grandifolia Buckley Smilax hispida Muhlenberg ex Torrey Smilax hispida var. australis Small Smilax hispida var. montana Coker Smilax tamnoides var. hispida (Muhlenberg ex Torrey) Fernald
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 477. Mentioned on page 470, 472, 478.
Vines; rhizomes knotty, short. Stems perennial, climbing, branching, terete, to 7+ m × 9 mm, woody, glabrous, with prickles proximally, prickles usually absent distally; prickles blackish, unequal, 3–10+ mm, bristly, flexible. Leaves ± persistent in southern part of range, deciduous in north; petiole 1–2 cm; blade green, drying to light olive-gray, ovate-lanceolate, ovate, or sometimes pandurate, prominently reticulate, thin, 5–13 × 3–10 cm, not glaucous, glabrous (to prickly on major veins abaxially), base rounded to cordate, margins entire apically, minutely serrulate basally, thin, flat, not banded, not lobed, apex pointed. Umbels many, axillary to leaves, to 25-flowered, open to dense, spherical; peduncle often drooping, 1.5–6.5 cm. Flowers: perianth green to bronze; tepals 4–5 mm; anthers ± equaling to shorter than filaments; ovule 1 per locule; pedicel 0.4–1.2 cm. Berries black, globose, 6–10 mm, not glaucous.

Phenology: Flowering May–Jun.
Habitat: Wet to dry woods, thickets, bottomlands
Elevation: 0–400 m


V26 998-distribution-map.jpg

Ont., Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.


Smilax tamnoides is marked by its dark, flexible, and unequal bristles and leaves with minutely serrulate margins basally. The far-western S. californica appears to be closely related but lacks the serrulate margins of the leaf bases.

Selected References


Lower Taxa


Facts about "Smilax tamnoides"
AuthorWalter C. Holmes +
AuthorityLinnaeus +
Common nameChina root +, hellfetter + and bristly greenbrier +
DistributionOnt. +, Ala. +, Ark. +, Conn. +, Del. +, D.C. +, Fla. +, Ga. +, Ill. +, Ind. +, Iowa +, Kans. +, Ky. +, La. +, Md. +, Mass. +, Mich. +, Minn. +, Miss. +, Mo. +, Nebr. +, N.J. +, N.Y. +, N.C. +, Ohio +, Okla. +, Pa. +, S.C. +, S.Dak. +, Tenn. +, Tex. +, Vt. +, Va. +, W.Va. + and Wis. +
Elevation0–400 m +
HabitatWet to dry woods, thickets, bottomlands +
IllustrationPresent +
Illustration copyrightFlora of North America Association +
IllustratorBarbara Alongi +
PhenologyFlowering May–Jun. +
Publication titleSp. Pl. +
Publication year1753 +
ReferenceNone +
Source xml grained fna xml/V26/V26 998.xml +
SynonymsSmilax grandifolia +, Smilax hispida +, Smilax hispida var. australis +, Smilax hispida var. montana + and Smilax tamnoides var. hispida +
Taxon familySmilacaceae +
Taxon nameSmilax tamnoides +
Taxon parentSmilax +
Taxon rankspecies +
VolumeVolume 26 +