tendrils & spines




pronounced: smy-LAY-see-eye

the smilax family

Smilax (σμιλαξ) was the Greek name for a scratchy plant, possibly bryony (Bryonia dioica). Members of this family were formerly included in Liliaceae. Smilacaceae occur throughout the tropics and warm temperate regions. They typically have woody roots and a climbing or vining form. Some have woody stems, often with thorns, while others are herbaceous above the ground, and thornless. The leaves are alternate and simple, and may be entire or serrate. Some have a pair of tendrils near the base of the petiole. Flowers are in an umbel, inconspicuous, radially symmetrical and unisexual, with 6 petals, 6 stamens and 3 carpels. Nectaries are located at the base of the tepals. The fruits are berries.


Photograph © Donald Simpson, taken in Nelly Bay 2013