lance-leaf greenbrier
Smilax smallii
  • LEAVES: evergreen, lance-shaped, 2 to 5 inches long, 3/4 to 2 inches wide; deep green shiny upper surface, often variegated, green lower surface; 5 veins, rarely 7; young leaves may have minute blunt teeth along margins
  • FLOWER: April to July; jasmine-like odor
  • FRUIT: matures in second year, 1/4 inch, blackish-red berry, 2 seeds
  • TWIGS:
  • BARK:
  • FORM: dark-greenish or reddish brown, splotched with gray; few internode spines, never on fruiting canes, spines at nodes
  • HABITAT: moist sites
  • RANGE: southeast US
  • USES: applies to the genus: important deer, cattle, and rabbit browse; stems are 5-10% of deer diet; wood ducks, turkey, song birds eat berries
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. lance-shaped leaf, variegated
    2. both leaf surfaces green

    NOTE: this is a difficult genus, with at least 8 species in Louisiana, and 15 to 20 in the southeast, 21 to 24 in the US

    OF INTEREST: lanceleaf and laurel greenbriar have large rhizomes that are high in starch and were used for food by Native Americans