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Everglades Greenbrier (Smilax coriacea)


Slightly woody vine that climbs by means of tendrils and attains 5 m or more in length. Stems slender, strong, flexible, puberulent or glabrous, covered with small recurved spines. Leaves coriaceous or rigid-coriaceous, 5.5-12(18) - 2.6-9(12.5) cm, ovate, elliptical, oblong, lanceolate, or linear, 3-7-veined, the apex obtuse, acute, or less frequently rounded or slightly retuse, mucronate, the base rounded, obtuse, or cordiform, the margins revolute and usually spiny; upper surface dark green, shiny, glabrous, with the midvein prominent, the margins revolute and usually spiny; petioles 0.5-2 cm long, articulated at the apex, forming a sheath at the base, from which two simple tendrils are borne. Inflorescences axillary, umbelliform, these solitary or on short flexuous branches, lacking leaves. Flowers greenish or yellowish. Staminate flowers with pedicels ca. 5 mm long, tepals oblong, reflexed, 2-3 mm long. Pistillate flowers with pedicels ca. 3 mm long; tepals ovate, erect, 1.5-1.8 mm long. Fruits globose or depressed-globose, 5-7 mm in diameter, black when ripe.Phenology: Flowering from January to March and from June to August and fruiting from September to January.Status: Native, very common.Commentary: In the first edition of this work, Smilax coriacea was considered a synonym of S. havanensis Jacq. This error is rectified in this edition, since the two species are different and can be distinguished by their pattern of the venation. The secondary veins on the leaves of S. coriacea form an angle with the principal vein that varies from 45- to 90-, while in S. havanensis the secondary veins form an angle with the principal vein that varies from 25- to 35-. Smilax havanensis is found in Cuba and in Hispaniola, but it is not found in Puerto Rico, nor in the Virgin Islands.

Taxonomic tree

  • Domain: Eukarya

    • Kingdom: Plantae

      • Phylum: Magnoliophyta

        • Class: Liliopsida

          • Order: Liliales

            • Family: Smilacaceae

              • Genus: Smilax