High-climbing evergreen woody vine, tough and wiry, sometimes forming dense thickets. Stems green, round in cross-section, usually very spiny but sometimes almost spineless. Spines stiff, green, round at base. Leaves evergreen, leathery, oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 6-20 cm (2.4-7.9 in) long and 1-7.5 cm (0.4-3 in) wide, with a thick midrib, apex pointed, base truncate or rounded. Flowers few to many, small, greenish, in umbels in leaf axils, blooming in late Summer. Fruits black, about 8 mm (0.3 in) long, ripening in Fall about 14 months after flowering.
Distribution: Native to much of the southeastern quarter of the U. S., mostly on the coastal plain.
Habitat: Swamps, bogs, floodplain forests.
NWI status: OBL
Comment: Smilax is an ancient Greek name for an evergreen oak; laurifolia refers to the resemblance of the leaves to those of laurel.
Distribution in Oklahoma: There are no specimens in the Bebb Herbarium, but it has been reported by Taylor and Taylor (1991) to occur in eastern Oklahoma.
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Last update: 9/20/99
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